Ballads Rule OK
Reviewed by: Jane Roser
The four Screaming Orphans girls grew up immersed in the traditional Celtic folk tunes which surrounded their hometown of County Donegal, Ireland and became the brick and mortar of every album they’ve created, including their latest, Ballads Rule OK. These sisters (Joan Diver-drums/vocals, Angela Diver-bass/fiddle/mandolin/vocals, Gráinne Diver-guitar/mandolin/vocals and Marie Thérèse Diver-accordion/keyboard/vocals) have some of the most beautiful voices and intoxicating harmonies I have ever heard.
The first track is a toe-tapping, exhilarating 19th century traditional Irish tune called “Rocky Road to Dublin” which tells the story of a man traveling from his home in Ireland to England and the many troubles he encounters along the way. Clocking in at a whopping six minutes and 48 seconds, it’s an epic adventure which culminates in a feverishly thrilling finish.
Fiddle tunes such as “Castle Kelly Set” and “Winnie’s Tunes” are performed fast and furious. I listened to this on my Windows Media Player and those colorful, squiggly lines dancing to the beat of the music were jumping around as quickly as if they’d
eaten an entire bag of Sour Patch Kids; it was the most fun I’d had all day.
The ballads on here offer quiet moments of haunting solitude. “The West’s Awake” is a traditional 19th century Irish rebel song originally written by Thomas Davis, a founding member of the Young Ireland Movement. The Screaming Orphans arranged this tune with spellbinding harmonies carried by whistles and Uilleann pipes.
“The Parting Glass” is a traditional parting or farewell song that was popular in Scotland and Ireland with lyrics that are believed to date back to the early 17th century. The Screaming Orphans sing this a cappella and it’s one of the loveliest tracks on here.
I’d be totally okay to agree that yes, yes ballads do indeed rule, and so does this album.