Irish Music Magazine, Centennial Edition, says... 'Wow, nearly an hour of total immersion in some glorious music, sensitive re-workings of tunes, surprising unfamiliar lines, different versions... it's a quality showcase. Evans has a rich, very clear and well-syncopated voice, full of resonance and musicality. The team behind the songs are as good as you'd get anywhere... Search it out, it's a revelation'. 'Winsome debut album' (Hot Press) 'Finely-crafted and sensitively-balanced recording which is worth looking out for. A well-modulated voice, with a good range and fine clarity of enunciation...' (Living Tradition) 'a rich and evocative tapestry, beautifully and masterfully woven... a true symphony of traditional music and song' (Irish Edition) Mark's growing love for the traditional songs of Britain and Ireland has earned him warm recognition as an accomplished singer and instrumentalist, leading to the much-awaited launch of A Rival Heart in 2003. We know you will enjoy listening to this stunning debut CD, a colourful, vivid and powerful collection of songs and tunes from the Irish and British traditions. Drawing on traditional songs for inspiration, A Rival Heart gives life to tragic historical moments, such as the death of King Henry VIII's third wife in 'The Death of Queen Jane', or the painful reminiscences of a maiden whose lover fell in the Napoleonic campaigns ('Bonnie Light Horseman'). We witness a spirited love quest in 'A Rival Heart' and the poignant, life-affirming farewell of the closing song 'The Parting Glass'. Accompanying the songs is a wonderfully orchestrated series of melodies drawn from the tradition of Irish dance music, from the 17th-century blind harper O'Carolan to Mark's own mellifluous flute composition 'The Departure'. Irish traditional music has been Mark's first love since his exposure to the inspirational flute playing of Matt Molloy and the powerful compositions of Planxty and the Bothy Band. His own early music was in bars, clubs, festivals, concert halls and kitchens the length and breadth of Ireland, where he gained a natural initiation into the music. He grew within a community of musicians from the Irish music scene in England, including the Molloy and Conneely families, Kevin Crawford, Karen Tweed, Luke Daniels and many others. His passion for the music took him to Ireland again and again to perform and to enjoy informal sessions by the fireside or in the warm congeniality of bars from Cork to Donegal, Waterford to Derry In the 1990s he joined Smoky Chimney fiddle and box duo Eoghan O'Sullivan and Gerry Harrington for performances in Ireland and England. Upon his relocation to the U.S. in the late 1990s he joined a lively traditional music community in the Baltimore-Washington area, performing at festivals, concerts and ceilis with a variety of bands and musicians, many of whom feature on this CD. Indeed he has chosen some of the finest session musicians to accompany him on this recording, including Billy McComiskey (accordion), Jim Eagan (fiddle), Dave Abe (fiddle), Eliot Grasso (uillean pipes and low whistle), Andy Thurston (guitar and tiple), Zan McLeod (strings) and Myron Bretholz (bodhran). This CD has something special for everyone, a unique and rich blend of Mark's formative musical influences in Ireland, Britain and America. And it's a winning combination...
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