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Soundtrack Review: The Waterhorse - Legend of the Deep
by Bridget Haggerty

This is one of those recordings that deserves seeing the movie or at least watching previews before one can make a fair judgment. True enough, you could listen to it cold and come away with a positive reaction. On offer is Sinead O’Connor being her brilliant ethereal self on the opening track and then there’s the strong Celtic influence throughout the rest of the recording followed by an eight-minute finale - The Waterhorse Suite flawlessly performed by the Chieftains. But unless you know the story or can relive scenes from the movie in your imagination, it leaves the listener guessing. And perhaps that’s okay. It certainly prompted this reviewer to go find out more about the movie. Here’s the basic synopsis: a young Scottish boy, finds an enchanted egg. Taking it home, he soon finds himself face-to-face with an amazing creature: the mythical "water horse" of old Celtic lore.

Based on the book by Dick King Smith the film appears to follow the original premise of what happens after the egg hatches and the “baby” grows into something so big, its protectors are forced to release it into a nearby lake. Yes, Loch Ness. And Yes, the famous legend is born.

But back to the CD and the music. It’s a good listen if you haven’t seen the film, but probably a lot better if you have.

The first track "Back Where You Belong” is written and performed by Sinéad O'Connor, and produced by Daniel Lanois. It's totally compelling in its sadness and simplicity. Classic O’Connor at her best and well worth the price of the album all by itself. The last track is "The Water Horse Suite," performed by the Chieftains who are brilliant as always. Sandwiched between these two tracks is James Newton Howard's score. No stranger to composing music for epics and the recipient of many nominations and awards for his work, Howard creates vivid accopaniments to the film’s story line and without ever seeing the movie, it’s easy to imagine key scenes. But in this reviewer’s opinion, the composer must cringe when he hears that his score is being reviewed as one might review the latest rock album. That said, if you see the movie, you can re-live the magic of it all again and again when you listen to the CD.

Where to hear samples and buy the CD: Amazon

Where to buy the book: Amazon

Where to see the trailer, clips and watch Sinead perform Back Where You Belong: Sony Pictures

 

Fri, Nov 3, 2017

The Round Towers

The Round Towers of Ireland are remarkable among the world's ancient monuments; one author has called them 'Elegant, free-standing pencils of stone.' Today, 65 survive in part or whole. Hand-crafted in native stone and cemented with a sand, lime, horsehair and oxblood mortar - a technique imported from Roman Britain - it's said by many historians that they were built by monastic communities to thwart Viking invaders. And yet, there's reason to believe that the towers were built long before Christianity came to Ireland. Whatever their origins, monasteries did indeed flourish where the round towers existed. And why not. These imposing edifices provided a watch tower, a keep and a refuge.
Image: By kind permission of Stephen Cassidy, The Cassidy Clan.


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