JOHN MCGLYNN reviews
Review of "Fragments" by Luc Mariani RGB 99.2 Cergy-Pontoise
For decades, countless female singers have graced the Irish landscape with gentle and rich voices. Amongst them we count Eimear Quinn (who won the Eurovision contest in 1996), Máire Brennan from Clannad and her sister Enya, Karen Casey from Solas, Karen Matheson from Capercallie, Méav, Chloe Agnew and many others like the sublime Joanne Hogg from Iona.
Also, there was a most remarkable band, Anúna, an Irish choir, bringing together female and male voices in a whirlwind of sounds, both hypnotic and moving for its vocal harmonies.
Still, there was a male voice to be added to all these Irish female vocal treasures.
In 2021, this voice can now be heard. One of the Irish national symbols, the Shamrock, has found its fourth leaf with "Fragments" by John McGlynn, composer and guitarist. His album has just come out as a CD. John has forged a brilliant musical career as one of the essential members of Anúna, a band that went on a world tour with Riverdance. His career also includes "Songs for a Fallen Angel", his first solo album, from 1999 debut of the short-lived acoustic vocal trio, Sweet June, who composed remarkable folk pieces.
Fragments, the long-awaited album, is a masterpiece for all fans of gentle, rhythmic folk music imbued with Gaelic strains. His music is also in line with the traditions that were passed on around the world, especially in the Americas, by the Celtic conquerors.
This second opus places John McGlynn in the pantheon of golden voices. What is mesmerizing about John McGlynn is his extraordinary sensitivity that wavers between the masculine and the feminine. His gentle, distinctive voice produces lively, melodious folk guitar music marked by short rhythmic patterns. It is a short album that sounds authentic and touches your heart. The high quality and rigour of his pieces form a strong contrast with the dream-like atmosphere and pervasive nostalgia of his album. We sense a perfect combination between male and female energies thanks to Rebecca Shannon’s production.
What does the album include ?
Ten pieces are between 2:16 and 4:47 minutes long. ‘Exhale’ opens the way, and ‘The River’ closes it, with no dull moments or redundancies in between! Each piece is imbued with its own atmosphere and reveals a musical treasure, alternating quick tempo, nostalgic ballads and melodies that the famous duet Lennon-McCartney could claim as their own. Nick Drake’s influence is also profound! Indeed, Nick Drake can be considered the rightful heir to "Fallen Angel" one evening on November 25th 1974 in Tanworth-in-Arden. Simon and Garfunkel alongside Kings of Convenience also spring to mind.
Still, defining this album solely as a magical voice, a guitar and a resounding echo of its illustrious predecessors would be a mistake, given the way the chords and the keyboards are subtly interwined.
There were undeniably feminine qualities sustaining "Fragments" throughout, whose generosity, spontaneity, warmth, love for musical forms I witnessed first-hand when I interviewed the artist.
Let’s wish John’s album the greatest possible success as he took full responsibility for his creation. Spread the word! A new angel is born!