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June 2019
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Out of the CD booklet

Information out of the CD booklet


Non Siamo Isole/we are not islands
(Simon May, Simon Lockyer & John Bryant)
Sleeve note by Niall Morris
Simon May is steeped in a classical vocal tradition since he was a choral scholar at Cambridge, although he is best known for writing the theme tune to Eastenders. We met him for the first time at the Royal Albert Hall where we premiered Non Siamo Isole/we are not islands with The English Chamber Orchestra conducted by Owain Arwel Hughes. How lucky we are to have had songs written for us in the past by Phil Coulter, Pete St. John, Jimmy MacCarthy et al but when Simon came up with this gem for us, we were blown away. It was pure Classical Crossover, if there is such a thing!
We suggested that he might consider using English words for the verses and Italian in the choruses. This was partly to facilitate the narrative of the song (the story of a man visiting the Bay of Naples who falls in love while an operatic aria is emanating from the distance) but also so we could invite Brian Kennedy to bring his own talents to the verses. While we worked hard in the studio to get our voices around the song's demanding Italian choruses, Brian did his vocals in one take. He's that kinda guy!
Brian Kennedy
I was thrilled to be asked to sing with The Celtic Tenors on this album. They are an extraordinary trio and it's always a challenge and an education to tread unchartered musical waters. Apart from a beautiful recording I now have three friends into the bargain. Love Brian Kennedy. X


Ten Thousand Tears
(Tony Sadler, Peter Howarth & Gaynor Sadler).
Sleeve note by by James Nelson
The heart-breaking story of a Japanese girl who shuns her family, religion and way of life, in order to be with the sexist, racist love-rat Pinkerton is the basis for one of the world's greatest operas- Puccini's Madama Butterfly. The celebrated Humming Chorus comes at the point where Butterfly, her infant son and her loyal maid are waiting for the return of the child's American father after 3 years. This is a magical musical moment before the opera's tragic nouement. The Humming Chorus serves as a backdrop to Ten Thousand Tears, and we were delighted when our friend Majella Cullagh (Soprano) Cork's internationally renowned opera and concert star agreed to join us in studio for this crossover classic.


Still By Your Side
(Jimmy MacCarthy & Feargal Murray).
Sleeve note by Matthew Gilsenan
Yet again we have had such a voyage of discovery recording a Jimmy MacCarthy song (this is our fifth to date on general release). Jimmy called me one evening to say that he had just written a song inspired by the passing of someone very close. He sang it to me down the phone and it moved me. Jimmy made demo CDs for us and we quickly decided we wanted to record it. We all have our own belief structures surrounding death, it is a most personal thing. For many it doesn't mean the end of life, but its continuation, in another form. That might mean going to heaven, or living on in memory, or perhaps living on in the genes of their children. Still By Your Side is a song of hope and great comfort.


You Raise Me Up
(Rolf Lovland & Brendan Graham).
Sleeve note by Niall Morris
It's not often that a song comes along that develops a life of its own but You Raise Me Up is one such song. Move over Amazing Grace, for this modern classic might even go down in history as the most recorded inspirational song of all time. It started life as a simple tune composed by Rolf Lovland of Secret Garden, plaintive and evocative, it is the sort of melody that sounds like it has always been around. Added to that were some moving lyrics by Irishman Brendan Graham and a vocal performance of transcendental purity by Brian Kennedy and together, almost unwittingly, they had combined to create gold dust. Since its debut only four years ago, You Raise Me Up has been recorded by numerous artists and has occupied No.1 positions in many countries, including the USA. However, it has not often been recorded by a female voice and to rectify this, we invited soul diva Samantha Mumba to join us in our own interpretation of the song. This is where Opera meets MoTown.
Samantha Mumba
It was my pleasure to work with The Celtic Tenors..not only are they wonderful people but incredible singers too. I wish them nothing but success for the future. I also hope everyone listening to our unique version of You Raise Me Up gets as much enjoyment from it as I did recording and performing it with The Celtic Tenors.


All Out of Love
(Music Graham Russell. Lyrics Graham Russell & Clive Davis).
Sleeve note by James Nelson
Almost every song in the world deals with the theme of love in one form or another. Air Supply claim that singing about love is the main reason for the group's longevity. Formed in 1975, Graham Russell and Russell Hitchcock have recorded over 20 albums, enjoyed a string of Number 1, penned some of the finest towering love-ballads, and celebrated the group's 30th anniversary this year. Having snogged to their songs in school discos in the 1980s, it was a mind-blowing honour to record in the same studio and to spend some time with this affable supergroup. Originally from the album Lost in Love, All Out of Love has remained their calling card.
Graham Russell, Air Supply
To work with the Celtic Tenors was a great thrill for Air Supply. Feeling the passion they have for the music, watching them strive for perfection while creating those heavenly harmonies on the spot, is music making at its finest. We can't wait to do more!


Angel of Mercy (for Holly)
(Ronan Hardiman & Frank Musker)
Sleeve note by Niall Morris
Ronan Hardiman, famous from writing the music to Michael Flatley's Lord of The Dance, approached me a few years ago to make a demo of his new song, Angel of Mercy. He had written it with the idea of having a pop singer in the verses and a trained voice in the choruses but when we worked on the song at his studio in Dublin, he changed his mind. He decided instead that, with a small amount of adjustments, it would be perfect for The Celtic Tenors. It took nearly two years for us to get to the studio with the song but it was worth the wait. The lyrics are simple and can either refer to an intense personal love or, indeed, the spiritual love for a higher being. I went back to Ronan's studio recently with the finished track and he nearly fell off his chair when he heard David Munro's glorious orchestral arrangement.


(Lucio Dalla).
Sleeve note by Niall Morris
I have sung Caruso so many times now that I have lost count, from Hamburg to Toronto, Auckland to Clonakility, but I never fail to have a little moment of trepidation before each performance. Will tonight be the night I forgot the words? The Italian lyrics of Caruso are so extensive and the music so similar throughout the song that it would be very easy to have a memory lapse. Thankfully it has never happened - not yet!  and as long as everyone continues to enjoy this song, I will persist in my attempt to attain the level of interpretation it deserves. Thank you Lucio Dalla for the great song; thank you to our International Fan Club for all your kind words about it; and thank you Caruso for inspiring a whole century of tenors.


Deep In Your Heart
(Liam Lawton).
Sleeve note by James Nelson
From a musical home, Liam Lawton has enjoyed a varied career as a teacher, priest, musician, singer and songwriter. As well as sell-out tours and double-platinum albums, Liam's music continues to play a central role in the Catholic liturgy. The theme of Deep In Your Heart finds its source in an ancient Latin advent prayer - Jerusalem - and is based on the Gregorian Chant tradition. Every moral decision is made deep in you heart, with resulting consequences. Jerusalem here is a metaphor for the world, a world which at times needs to change its heart.


Eric's Song
(Music James Nelson with Niall Morris and Matthew Gilsenan.
Lyrics by Eric Nance).
Sleeve note by James Nelson
In 1995 I became a member of Lifelines, and immediately struck up a correspondence with Eric Nance, a prisoner on Arkansas Death Row. For me, the Death Penalty has always been shrouded in a cloud of controversy, contradictions and double standards. Ten years on, I am still in weekly correspondence with Eric. As our unique friendship deepens, Eric has proven himself to be a talented artist and writer. His letters, and this poem which I have set to music, show that Eric's only means of escape for the moment from this hell's purgatory is through his letters, his memories and his dreams.


Bright Blue Rose
(Jimmy MacCarthy).
Sleeve note by Matthew Gilsenan
This is a classic Jimmy MacCarthy song. He wrote it at an exhausted period in his life when his health finally gave in. He was just out of hospital after minor surgery and had a disagreement with his father, so he went off to Kenmare to a party but by the evening time in the Kenmare Bay Hotel he suddenly fell very ill. He decided to check in to a room, then a woman, a healer, approached him and said 'you look very unwell, let me give you a blast'. She moved her hands, without touching, around his back he felt unbelievable heat, he had a repeat treatment later that night and the next morning (Easter Sunday morning), he was completely recovered. He then wrote the song without thinking. He says 'a mysterious piece and nothing I could disclose would let you know anything more about it, but I can honestly say you I'll be glad when you sing it.


Here, There and Everywhere
(Lennon and McCartney).
Sleeve note by Matthew Gilsenan
The Celtic Tenors have been performing this 1966 Beatles song since early in our career. This Lennon & McCartney gem is often part of our live show, particularly with the band. It works well a capella too, so we can sing it Here There and Everywhere and we do! A great ditty for any impromptu performance.


I will never let go
(Simon May, Simon Lockyer & John Bryant).
Sleeve note by Matthew Gilsenan
The song was work-shopped one morning by myself and guitarist Bill Shanly in his studio on Blessington Street (in Dublin's Northside) with Dave and Calum presiding. Right up against the wire as usual, we were heading to the States the next morning to record with Air Supply. Having had many talks with writer Simon May, I decided to take a very honest and simple approach. I had just lost my grandmother, Bridget, and just sang it to her. The song would be guitar led, mostly steel string guitar and when Dave noticed there was a baritone guitar on a stand in the corner of one of the recording rooms, he suggested Bill give it a try for the instrumental break. In two hours we had it, honest and uncluttered. The final version of the song was recorded in Calum's studio in North Berwick, just a short train journey from Waverly Station, Edinburgh, such a beautiful and inspirational place to make music.


TV Wars
(Willie Huges)
sleeve note by Niall Morris
Influential figures in the music industry haven often commented on our distinctive use of vocal harmonies. Some have said that the way our very different voices come together to create a singular, unique sound is reminiscent of the British band Queen. The Celtic Tenors have taken that as the blue print for the chouruses in Willie Huges' political satire, TV Wars. Joined again by Russel and Graham from Air Supply, the Glam Rock, musical opuulence is purposely pitched in sharp relief against the stark realities of war and its dreadful consequences. 

David Munro - Musical Director & Co-Producer
My priority when approaching this album was to capture the energy, the range of emotions and the drama that The Celtic Tenors generate every time they appear on stage. So throughout the process of this recording I have sought to harness that energy whilst still showing the dynamic range of styles that is unique to The Celtic Tenors.


Having worked with their voices on almost a daily basis for over three years now it seemed natural for me to produce this album. I, in turn, called upon the skills of veteran producer and engineer Calum Malcolm, whose experience ranges from opera to rock and pop, to co-produce with me. This gave me the freedom to concentrate on creating arrangements which complimented the very different and individual voices within the group as well as the Celts very own special blend.


As ever, it was a pleasure to work with Matthew, Niall, James and their guests. I would like to thank each and every one of them for their talent, hard work and commitment to this project.


Simon May
We were first introduced to the Celtic Tenors by our good friends Lisa and Charles Davies. They had sent our original demo Non Siamo Isole/We are not islands to the boys in the Italian version. Happily they liked the song, but felt it needed a more accessible English lyric in the verses. Also they wanted the option of making the song a duet between themselves and a guest male singer.


We decided to use the Italian chorus as an evocative blackcloth to a love story in which on of the lead singers remembers (in the verses) how he first fell in love with an Italian girl when on holiday in Sorrento.


Simon Lockyer, John Brant and I were so excited to hear the boys perform Non Siamo Isole/We are not islands for the first time live at the Albert hall early in 2005. We hope you share our view that they have brought our song to life in a very special way.