LSM Newswire

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Shannon Mercer & Skye Consort - Wales, The Land of Song - AN2 9965

Montreal, February 24, 2009 Shannon Mercer, one of Canada's most promising brilliant rising stars, featured recently on the Analekta recording Bach and the Liturgical Year, nominated for a Juno, invites us to discover the Welsh folksong repertoire with the Skye Consort.

To those who know the singer as a classical vocalist, this album may seem odd but this is the culture that shaped her path in life. "This music, this Welsh culture and heritage is the reason I became a singer," she explains. "My father always showed a passion and love for music. He discovered the Ottawa Welsh Society and began to sing with the Gwalia Singers. As a girl, I was able to carry on this inherited tradition when, at the age of 15, I travelled to Llangollen, Wales to sing in the prestigious Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod."

The folksongs presented on this recording, a mix of familiar and not-so-familiar, date back to the 1800s. They transcend time and gender, melding themes of innocent youth and love, joy and sadness, birth and death and tell the journey of an honest and passionate people. Love is a common theme as in Y Deryn Pur, Fenyw Fwyn or the famous Welsh lullaby Suo Gnas memory, as in the old maid who is tediously weaving on the loom as she recalls her hardships in Y Gydd or the tragic and haunting Dafydd y Gareg Wen. Many of these songs, whether song melodies or dance tunes, are very well-known and Sen Dagher spent a great deal of time deciding which elements of previous arrangements (harmony, counter-melody, even rhythm) to keep and which to set aside.

Critically acclaimed by the international press for her musical artistry, Shannon Mercer has been hailed as "one of Canada's most promising young sopranos" and a "Leader of Tomorrow" (Maclean's). The 2008-2009 season features Shannon in multiple productions of The Magic Flute including performances in Hamilton, Toronto, Victoria, and London (Ontario). Season highlights include concerts with the OffCentre Series in Toronto, the Vancouver Chamber Choir, Symphony Nova Scotia, and Les Violons du Roy.

Skye Consort was formed in 1999 and since then has toured and participated in music festivals and concert series across eastern Canada and the United States. The group's goal is to bring art-music aesthetic and interest to the music of different world traditions.

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