Mark Butler and Friends.
Music, traditional or otherwise, lives in its musicians. And the music and songs evoke memories in those who listen to it and for it. This is especially true for Irish folk songs and music, a genre which has travelled the world with its emigrants and been passed from one generation to the next.
Mark has been playing to audiences in Ireland and Australia for over thirty years, as a member of Claddagh or as a solo artist. In more recent times he is often accompanied by his wife, Mary McEvilly Butler, an accomplished Irish traditional fiddler.
At festivals and concerts, Mark or Claddagh are equally adept at delivering a polished performance, but also take great delight in playing requested songs from the audience, which is a distinct change from playing a defined set list of songs and tunes. The premise is that the audience will likely have come to the festival in the hope of hearing a favorite or memorable song, and this is the one performance where their desired song can be asked for and played. It lends to a happy, satisfied audience and invariably a great sing-along with fun audience participation.
Cara - The Weaving of Poetry and Song.
This album is the result of the collaboration of two artists, a superb singer and an extraordinary poet. Their songs and poems will weave a magical spell in your heart. Joe Lynch and I first met at an Irish music session a few years ago and very quickly became firm friends, due in no small part to our shared roots (we both hail from County Cork in Ireland). But, even stronger than that is our mutual deep fondness for Irish songs and poetry. At a music session, I heard Joe recite a stunningly beautiful poem, interwoven with Michael Hughes (Sásta) singing Raglan Road. I was immediately enthralled by the simplistic beauty of it. I had always enjoyed Tommy Makem and Liam Clancy intertwining poetry and song in their performances, but Joe was doing something special by reciting his own poetry. I wanted to pursue the idea of expanding on this concept to see where the journey would take us. Joe was delighted to test it as well and we met to share some ideas and collaborate on making it happen. We spent a very pleasant few evenings working through the songs and poetry you can hear on this CD now. We agreed to go into the studio to see what might happen, and in one marathon day, with the guiding hand of Pix Vane Mason, our producer and engineer, we recorded the whole album live in the studio, which was no small feat. We hope you enjoy listening to it as much as we did performing it. Mark Butler