Niamh Parsons & Graham Dunne - Kind Providence: dark gems

Kind Providence
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Artist: Niamh Parsons & Graham Dunne
Genre: Traditional
Label: Independent Release

Bold brush strokes distinguish this latest recording from Dublin singer Niamh Parsons and regular guitar accompanist Graham Dunne.

Her earthy vocals are shot through with a smoky undertow that captures the darker corners of her songbook. And that songbook has a few treasures lurking within.

The Slave's Lament, from a collection published in 1792 edited by Robbie Burns, is a sharp-sided account of slavery that would make a perfect companion piece to Randy Newman's Sail Away.

It is rendered all the more affecting by Dunne’s inventive jazz-tinged arrangements.


Parsons' decision to include the over-familiar Carrickfergus strikes the only dud note, but her reading of Willie O crystallises the fact that she's the conduit, not the gatekeeper of a song.

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Siobhán Long

Siobhán Long

Siobhán Long, a contributor to The Irish Times, writes about traditional music and the wider arts