Niamh's Musings

Join Niamh at home and on tour... the people she meets, the music she loves and the turns in the road.

Friday, May 26, 2006





Irish Echo

Her willingness to sing so starkly and compellingly about injustice, without fear of red-state-baiting or Fox News spinning, should shame all those contemporary folk singer-songwriters still channelling Dr. Phil.

If you're looking for an escape from the woes of the world, this CD is probably not going to help you except as catharsis - but if you're looking for an honest encounter with or an unflinching depiction of spreading social and political blight, then this CD should open your eyes as well as your heart.  Recognition precedes action: it's something Niamh Parsons understands as one of Ireland's most skilful song interpreters.

Earle Hitchner

Old simple style it may be, but it's a refreshing change from some incongruously orchestrated folk manners!

Boston Herald:  (Dan Gewertz)

Niamh Parsons may not be the most famous Irish Balladeer, but many feels she's the best.  This rare singer is both emotionally haunting and tonally as clear as crystal.  She celebrates the release of her sublime new album with her great guitarist Graham Dunne.

Irish Voice (Paul Keating)

Out with a new CD is one of Ireland's most captivating voices.  Niamh Parsons, The Old Simplicity is notable not only for her clear distinct singing style that goes down as well as a velvety-smooth and earthy Guinness, but for her penchant of picking great songs.

Boston Globe (Scott Alarik)

Over the past decade, Parsons has emerged as one of Ireland's premier traditional divas.  Her dusky mezzo is a gorgeous ballad instrument....She is right at home with both the contemporary songs she sprinkles amid the trad gems on her new CD, The Old Simplicity.  Whether singing about the human toll of hard times; the 'heroes that don't come home' or the ache of love lost, she always seems to be just telling us her own story.

Thom Jurek, All Music Guide

The Old Simplicity is dignified and burns its passion quietly like a smouldering fire. There's poetry in here, and tragedy and defeat, and above all empathy and love. Highly recommended. 


David Kidman

Although neither Niamh nor Graham wastes a single note or nuance in their matchless renditions of predominantly traditional songs, there's never a feeling of perfunctory auto-pilot readthrough about their performances, instead we get a quality of stillness, a measured calm that in its very poise builds around it the space for the interpretations to breathe and every respect one of those hen's-teeth "would've given all to be there" live records (you can tell that by the ultra-enthusiastic reception Niamh and Graham get from the audience.


Old Songs March 2006 Glenn Weiser
Niamh Parsons is a fine, real-deal traditional singer, and with Graham Dunne's forward-looking accompaniment, you could call their time-melting music Old Guinness in a New Bottle. 
John Venditti
A delightfully unique combination of sounds tonight.  A strong, rich and vibrant Celtic voice and a mellow but lively acoustic guitarist with pleasant strains of Brazil and Argentina.  Niamh and Graham were truly heartfelt musicians, really reaching deep into the heart and soul.  And quite witty entertainers to boot!  I had a great evening!

Sunday, May 21, 2006

At Home

Well - here in Dublin it is the most miserable Sunday weather I can remember
since I was a kid! But I'm off to the Cobblestone to see the new graduates
of the Ballyfermot School of Music - the traditional section. The 2nd years
are wonderful musicians and singers - and I'm sure they'll do well in the

I went last night to the Pavilion Theatre to see the musicians on this years
Irish Network Tour. Dave Hennessey, Máire Breatnach, Donal Clancy and Gary
Walsh - what a night of absolutely stunning music. Manchester born Gary is a
flute player who has played tunes he got from his Irish father and mother,
tunes he's known all his life. But when he came to live in Cork, he
discovered that nobody knew any of these tunes, and he discovered that these
tunes had been hidden from the general traditional public for 2 generations!
Himself and Dave catalogued about 200 of them, and put some on a brilliant
album called 'Uncovered' - I was so impressed with these lovely tunes, some
from West Cork, some from Co. Louth area - sweet tunes, jigs, reels,
waltzes, hornpipes etc. so the whole night last night was made up of these
tunes and it was the most beautiful music I've heard in a long time. Of
course I'm highly biased when it comes to Máire Breatnach who, to me, is THE
most talented Irish musician. Some of her own compositions were included in
the set too.

Must go and brave the weather!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Dublin concert

The publicity for the new Green Linnet CD is finally underway in Ireland.
Myself and Graham will be on the Pat Kenny Show on June 2nd. And that
evening we will do a concert in the Cobblestone Pub in Smithfield, Dublin -
a rare Dublin concert.

Basque Country

We've just arrived back from Bilbao. It was a really lovely trip. The
concert in the Euskaldi Theatre was just great. It's a magnificant venue,
designed to look like a ship being built. It's our second time playing
there, and the audience were great - luckily many of them could understand

We were invited to do a radio program with the Basque radio station - Radio
Euskadi, - the name of the program was La Jungla Sonora - and it was a
pleasure to meet Joseba. Our escort for the short trip was Naiara - a very
beautiful girl from Bermeo. She translated all the questions from Joseba.
Naiara was a pleasure and looked after us very well. She drove us to our
first concert in Mungia. It was in a 200 year old building which had been
converted into an Arts theatre, as well as class rooms for music lessons.
Wonderful warm audience.

We were lucky to have an afternoon to browse around the Guggenheim Museum,
where there was a wonderful exhibition of Russian art and collections. I
could have stayed all day but work had to be done!

So our short trip was over and we headed off home to dismal Dublin - will
the weather ever be any good?

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Lates News

I didn't bring my lap top to Italy because it was a short trip.  It was really lovely to be in warm weather, though the Italians thought it still winter!  We played a lovely concert in a 16th Century church with the band The Birkintree.  Pietra Ligure, Auditorium Piazza   It was a lovely night of great music, followed by the customary pizza.  We had another lovely concert in Verona with Michel Balatti playing a few tunes with us.  As always, the food was fantastic, the weather lovely and the company wonderful.