Chronicles Of The Great Irish Famine, the brand new album by Declan O'Rourke was released in October 2017.
Fifteen years in the making, this epic song cycle combines the best of traditional Irish music and the heart of modern song-writing to present a series of extraordinary true tales from the most dynamic period in Ireland’s history.
‘Poor Boys Shoes’ the first song of the collection, was inspired by a passage from John O’Connor's book "The Workhouses of Ireland.” O'Rourke recalls, "The hair stood up on my neck when I read the lines 'The man who carried his wife from the workhouse to their old home, mile after weary mile, and was discovered next morning dead, his wife’s feet held to his breast as if he was trying to warm them...' I had stumbled into a chapter of history I knew almost nothing about. I wanted to share these stories the best way I knew how, through song.”
The Great Irish Famine, An Gorta Mór, was by far the most impactful era in the recorded history of Ireland. The effect on the population was so devastating that seven generations and 170 years later the population is still far from where it was in the 1840s. "This project is an attempt to bring fresh air to an unhealed wound, and to remind the Irish people of what we have overcome."
Nine of the album's musicians including Mike McGoldrick, Dermot Byrne, Floriane Blancke, Jack Maher, Chris Herzberger, Gino Lupari, Rob Calder and John Sheahan, performed ‘Chronicles’ around Ireland in December 2017 to a standing ovation each night, and will take it abroad throughout 2018 and 2019.
The winter of 2018 will mark the 170th anniversary of the peak of this most significant series of events. ‘Chronicles of the Great Irish Famine’ is available here.
Voted Irish album of the year 2017 - Irish Mail on Sunday... "will surely come to be seen as his defining album."
Nominated for Album of the year, Critics choice, 2017 - fRoots magazine U.K.
Voted Album of the year 2017 by Marty Whelan on RTE Lyric fm... “Truly special.”
★★★★ - Songlines Magazine UK... “Delivered with consummate grace. Beautifully played. Exquisitely detailed.”
“A work of art from start to finish. This will be around forever.” Lynette Fay - Folk Club, BBC Radio Ulster.
“Epic” - Cara (Aer Lingus inflight magazine).