I gushed almost nonstop about Meav's eponymous debut release, but you ain't seen nothing yet! As much as I loved that one, this one is even more incredibly beautiful.
1. "You Brought Me Up:" So very sad and full of longing, this is a song about a human who was once a seal until the pup's mother sent it ashore to live. This is based on one of many Celtic lore tales.
2. "The Wicked Sister:" A tale that's told to many Irish children, it tells the story of a girl who murders her younger sister over both her beauty and the knight who has asked her to marry him. She doesn't count on a minstrel turning the girl's bones and her long golden hair into a harp that tells on her on her wedding day! Very nice harp playing by Meav on this strong track.
3. "Morning in Bearra:" You may recognize this as the melody to "Danny Boy." Though the lyrics are in gaelic and the translation is very different, the feel of the song is still the same loneliness and longing. Also, I need to point out that, on this album, not only are the lyrics supplied, but they are also translated, even the ones she does in French! I like this version far better than the one we all know so well. Taking the time to study some gaelic is very rewarding, because the lyrics are far more beautiful and poetic than when made to fit english song structures.
4. "Full Fathom Five:" A dark, eery song based on Shakespeare's The Tempest. It reminds me a bit of Tori Amos's "Bells for Her," and both songs send a chill down my backbone!
5. "The Waves of Tory:" A song written by Meav's father, very beautiful song of a sailor's homecoming.
6. "A Maid in Bedlam:" A Cornish folk song from the 1700's, the tale of lovers reunited despite his parents' attempts to keep them apart. Truly inspiring song of love conquering the worst of perils! It has a very medieval sound which is surprising for a ballad written in its timeframe.
7. "The Cradles:" This absolutely beautiful French song, "Les Berceaux," tells the very sad story of sailors who will one day leave the mothers whose hands rocked them in their infancy.
8. "Newry Boat Song:" Oh, how I love this song! "Gur h-e mo ghille dubh-dhonn (He is my dark brown lad)." The very sad longing of a maid whose beloved Domhhnall Donn has sailed to Newry and married a young Irish girl there. The lament has a gentle sway, and you even find yourself trying to pronounce that chorus chant.
9. "Martha's Harbor:" Another of my favorite songs on this album, it was originally recorded by All About Eve. This is simply one of the most beautiful contemporary folk songs I have ever heard, or maybe it's the way in which Meav has chosen to interpret it. The melody is gorgeous.
10. "The Dark-haired Girl:" If you aren't good with gaelic enunciation based on its strange spelling, the translation is definitely appreciated. One of those very moody light jigs about a sailor at sea and the "fun" he has with the girls he encounters. I would suppose these men were the rock stars of their day?
11. "Port na Bpucai:" My least favorite song on Silver Sea would have to be this one. I like songs of sadness and longing, as you find several of those in Celtic music, but this keening whale song is far too dreary for my taste, although Meav turns in a beautiful acapella performance.
12. "Silent O Moyle:" I didn't really like this song much until I thought of what it might feel like to have a jealous stepmother queen turn you and your brothers into swans and exile you for 100 years. I always thought it would be lovely to be a swan, but King Lir's daughter Fionnuala feels drastically different.
13. "Youkali Tango:" I absolutely adore this enchanting French tango composed by Kurt Weill in pre-war France when he was struggling to keep a roof over his head. Meav is backed by something of a roaring 20s sounding French arrangement, and the charm of the lyrics, which are translated make it completely irresistible. Check out the translation of this beautiful chorus:
"Youkali is the land of our desires
Youkali is happiness, pleasure
Youkali is the land where we forget all our worries
It is in our night, like a bright rift
The star we follow, it is Youkali
Youkali is the respect of all vows exchanged
Youkali is the land of love returned
It is the hope that is in every heart
The deliverance we await for tomorrow
Youkali is the land of our desires
Youkali is happiness, pleasure
But it is a dream, a folly
There is no Youkali"
And this song was written long before John Lennon even thought of composing "Imagine." As far as I'm concerned, it's my kind of dreamer's song, and if it doesn't enchant and hook you like a fish, I will be flabberghasted. As I said in my other Maeve review, buy both of her albums together, because I already consider this one to be an even better sequel to the first. I know you will fall in love with them equally!