On her third album, Irish folk singer Brigid Mae Power sees no disconnect between ancient and modern. Neither does her haunting voice, an instrument that raises the everyday to a near-mystical realm.
On The Blacksmith, a traditional tune, Power’s protagonist is aghast to learn that the man courting her is secretly married. On the piano-led Wearing Red That Eve, a group of men in New York shout profanities at her. What she does next “frightened even me” – but it remains unspoken, as do the elliptical circumstances of I Had to Keep My Circle Small, which enumerates strategies for self-preservation.
As on Power’s previous albums, there is a delicious tension between the ethereal succour offered by her voice and the turmoil these thrumming songs are processing. Often, wordless emoting is the only solution; Power’s tones flow like starlings above her mantric guitar and that of her partner and collaborator Peter Broderick. A small group of additional musicians joins them, bringing flutes and bouzoukis; Scottish folk singer Alasdair Roberts co-produces too. Every so often, this music itself will take flight, as it does so beautifully on I Was Named After You.