Sean Feeny’s Northern Soul – CD Review And Giveaway

Sean Feeny’s NORTHERN SOUL is a charity CD blending the sounds of motown and soul with the distinct strains of traditional Irish music.

To celebrate St. Patrick’s Weekend I thought why not introduce you to this unique and fascinating mixture of Irish and American music styles. And into the bargain, Sean has provided four copies of his wonderful album as prizes for four lucky readers of Irish American Mom.

Album Cover - Northern Soul

 

The Album:

 

On this album ‘Soul Man’ meets the uilleann pipes. The fiddle features on ‘Reach Out I’ll Be There’. The ukulele seems to be asking ‘Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?’. These carefully chosen tracks are a unique take on some old classics. Sean describes this album as “The Commitments meets The Chieftans”.

 

“Sean Feeny’s NORTHERN SOUL is a brave and beautiful collection of classic soul songs

re-interpreted by a new and fresh soul singer.

What a breath of fresh Donegal Air in every heartfelt note!”

- Brian Kennedy

 

A Donegal man, Sean spent three years planning and developing Northern Soul, his first solo album. In his early twenties Seán toured with bands such as Westlife and Irish Country star Derek Ryan, and his former band D-Side, but now he is taking center stage to bring his musical vision to the world.

Singing- Sean Feeny

Sean Feeny of Northern Soul

Musicians and singers from all over Donegal shared their talents to record this charity album. Fiddlers, piano accordionists, flautists, tin whistle, mandolin, banjo and ukulele players all joined forces to recreate beautiful, heartfelt renditions of some old favorites.  Sean said:

 

“I am very privileged to have so many wonderful singers and musicians,

whom I am honoured to call friends, featuring on this album. 

Without their generosity and willingness to help this album

would never have been possible and wouldn’t have turned out the way it did.”

 

I have listened to this album many times, and love to sing-along when I’m driving. My voice is so bad, I’m banned from singing to it when the kids are in the car.

Sean Feeney

The Charities:

 

This CD is raising funds for GROW Mental Health Movement and the North West Simon Community. Five years ago Seán was part of the first annual Letterkenny Street Sleep, increasing his awareness of the plight of homeless people throughout Ireland and the world. This eye-opening experience led him to choose the North West Simon Community charity as one of those to benefit from sales of Northern Soul.

Northwest Simon Community

The aim of the Simon Community is to ensure people keep their homes, by providing a listening ear, practical supports, information and advocacy.

Grow is a National Mental Health Organisation that provides an opportuinity for growth and personal development for people with mental health problems, and also for people who may be having difficulty coping with life’s challenges.

 

How To Buy The Album:

 

Northern Soul is only 10 euro.  The album is available at Books & Charts, Dungloe, Leo’s Tavern, Meenaleck, Crolly or An Grianán Theatre, Letterkenny. It is also available by mail order. For queries email: northernsouldonegal@gmail.com.

Thank you to Sean for his generosity, and concern for others. I wish him every success for a long and enduring career as a talented musician.

Sean Feeny’s Northern Soul is also featured on Facebook.

 

The Giveaway:

 

 

 

Four lucky winners will receive a copy of the CD Northern Soul by Sean Feeny.

To enter just leave a comment on this blog post by noon on Tuesday, March 18th, 2013.  Any comment will do but if you need inspiration why not tell us what type of music you enjoy, or what type of music would be a good blend with Irish traditional music.

A winning comment will be chosen randomly.  Remember to leave your e-mail so that I can contact you should you win.  Your e-mail won’t be published or shared, just used to contact our lucky contestants.

Winners will be announced on Tuesday March 18th, so I can get the winners’ prizes in the mail.

Thanks to everyone who enters and supports our giveaway. I look forward to reading your comments.

 

 

Slán agus beannacht leat!

(Goodbye and blessings)

Irish American Mom

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I’m Coming Home – A Song For Christmas by The Jigsaw Jam and Keith O’Brien

I’m Coming Home is a new Christmas song penned by Keith O’Brien and The Jigsaw Jam, and dedicated to the hundreds of thousands of Irish emigrants around the world, who will not be able to make it home for the holidays.

Grafton Street’s Christmas lights twinkled in the background as these musicians filmed this heart warming song.  The video features clips of immigrants from around the globe sending messages home to their loved ones.

 

This is an amazing song by Irish artists with fabulous voices. Their Christmas present this year will hopefully be recognition by the music industry, which they truly deserve.

 

Beware – this video carries a Homesickness Warning!!!!

 

For anyone spending Christmas far away from family and friends, this song will bring tears to your eyes.

Homesickness is a strange phenomenon, which I have suffered from at various stages throughout my twenty something years living in America. When my initial wanderlust subsided during the first year of my time here, I soothed my Irish soul by returning to my family at Christmas time to recharge my batteries.

But as years passed by and cash flow restricted me from taking multiple trips across the Atlantic, my yuletide journeys to the Emerald Isle came to an end.  My passion for my new country has not waned, but at Christmas it is difficult not to feel homesick and sad. That’s when I miss Ireland the most.

To minimize my loneliness I bake cookies, join in every American Christmas activity, but deep down each year I miss my family in Dublin, Cork and Donegal.

The poignant words of this song stirred my heart and made me think of all the Irish people spending Christmas far away from home.

It’s over twenty years since I spent Christmas in Ireland, but I’m happy to say this year is an exception. My kids are so excited to experience their first Christmas in Ireland with their grandparents. We’ve e-mailed Santa to make sure he knows their correct delivery address.

And so, as I listened to this lovely song, I smiled because finally, I’m Coming Home for Christmas.

I hope you enjoy this video as much as I do. The single I’m Coming Home is now available on iTunes.

 

Nollaig Shona Daoibh

(Merry Christmas)

 

Irish American Mom

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“Hope In New York City” – A Young Adult Novel By Cynthia G. Neale

Hope in New York City: The Continuing Story of The Irish Dresser by Cynthia G. Neale tells America’s story, through the eyes of a young Irish immigrant, Nora McCabe.

Today I am delighted to introduce you to the second installment in an Irish American trilogy for young adult readers.

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In this book we experience Nora’s struggles, her inner turmoil and homesickness, and her journey towards becoming an American in the midst of prejudice and hardship.

Nora does not merely seek a new land, a roof over her head or a new nationality. She yearns deeply for a familiar sense of home. Through her daily struggles, she learns true belonging exists in the human spirit, and in the love of family and friends.

It is important to remember the Irish Famine, especially for those of us with family ties to the Emerald Isle. This book offers young readers meaningful and realistic insights into the experience of Irish immigrants as they arrived destitute on America’s shores.

Cynthia Neale is a talented writer, who progresses her tale in a lively, lyrical style. I admire her ability to write historical fiction in first person, present tense.

It’s many years since I could be classified as a young adult reader. The now familiar “YA” term didn’t even exist when I was a teenager.  The books of my youth were mainly written in third person, past tense, making this novel the first book written in first person, present tense, I ever read.

At first I found this point of view and tense a little off-putting, but Neale’s mastery of her story, and her skillful descriptions of the dangerous streets of New York, captured my imagination. With each page I turned, she reeled me in with her gripping narrative, and detailed imagery.

I quickly found myself deep within Nora McCabe’s young mind, coming to understand and empathize with her homesickness, yet wishing for her to let the past go. I cheered as she learned to open her heart to her new city, and to connect with her new neighbors.

I may be an old fashioned, traditional reader of 3rd person, past tense historical fiction, but by the end of this book, I came to appreciate the power and urgency of present tense storytelling. I now understand how immediate action and narrative can draw a reader in.  In this book, the dark and dangerous streets of 1840′s New York came to life.  I traveled hand-in-hand with Nora, learning to navigate and survive in her new and perilous world.

I did however have two minor issues with this book. Nora’s last name, McCabe, was not an appropriate choice for a family from County Cork. As an Irish person, I associate the name McCabe with the counties of Ulster rather than Munster.

In addition, the dialogue in this book did not reflect the nuances of Cork people’s conversations.  The word “wee’ was used too frequently. It is an Irish term for the word little, but is seldom used in Cork. It is heard most frequently in the northern counties of Ulster. These minor issues would probably go unnoticed by 99% of readers, but since my entire family hails from County Cork, the characters of this book were not true Corkonians for me.

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The Trilogy:

 

This sequel continues Nora’s saga, which started in The Irish Dresser: A Story of Hope during The Great Hunger.  Nora crawls into an old dresser to escape from Ireland to America and the devastation of the Irish Famine. Inside her dresser on board ship, Nora learns to turn hope into reality.

The third, and most recently published volume in this series, is Norah: The Making of an Irish American Woman in 19th Century New York City. Here our young heroine frees herself from the limitations of poverty, gender and class as she learns to overcome corruption and exploitation.

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A single volume or this complete trilogy would make a perfect Christmas gift for any young adult reader interested in history, their Irish roots or the making of America. I highly recommend these books for young students of Irish and American history.

 

Cynthia G. Neale:

 

Cynthia Neale is an American with Irish ancestry, who frequently travels to Ireland, and is keenly interested in the tragedies and triumphs of the Irish during the Famine. She grew up in Watkins Glen, New York, and now lives in New Hampshire with her husband and daughter.

 

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Cynthia G. Neale

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I love this explanation of her writing style from her official web page:

“I seek to sew my stories together with the unbreakable golden thread of hope.This golden thread oftentimes is a rare and buried treasure that has to be found with great tenacity and prescience.Hope can come lilting and skipping throughout lighthearted and humorous stories, whether they are written for adults or children.”

Wishing Cynthia every success with this wonderful trilogy of Irish American tales.

 

Slán agus beannacht leat!

(Goodbye and blessings)

Irish American Mom

 

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Book Review & Giveaway: “Would You Marry A Farmer?” By Lorna Sixsmith

Would YOU marry a farmer? This six million dollar question is posed by Lorna Sixsmith in her similarly titled new book.  Through the pages she wittily answers many questions for would-be farmers’ wives, which may leave you firmly believing an Irish farmer is the ideal husband after all.

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Today I’m thrilled to be part of Lorna’s virtual book tour, to help launch her new publication. Lorna kindly gave me an advance copy of her book to review and is providing an additional copy for one lucky reader of Irish American Mom to win.

A good book is an ideal Christmas gift. Over the next week I’ll share some titles, that are just perfect for your loved ones who are interested in all things Irish.

 

But now back to those farmers….

 

Although I may be a city girl, I spent many days, weeks and months of my childhood with my two grannies on their farms in County Cork. My farming experience, milking cows and bringing in the hay, helped me truly appreciate Lorna’s humorous take on Irish farming life.

For those girls set on finding a farming husband this book has it all. Lorna first explores the question of whether or not farmers are a good catch.

She includes a wonderful look back on marriage practices in years gone by, the dowry system and the ancient art of matchmaking. 

Old newspaper advertisements from eligible men and women seeking a partner with land are thoroughly entertaining. Some of these snippets date back to the 19th century.

In 1946 The Irish Press printed the following appeal on the 16th October 1946.

 

“Farmer, age 30, 40 acres, own farm, no encumbrance,

would like to correspond with farmer’s daughter,

age 25-30, good strong girl with view to above.”

I love the fact this potential suitor made no effort to hide the fact he needs a “good, strong girl.” No pretty weaklings need apply.

Next Lorna guides us through the process of finding a good farmer, with plenty of tips on types of farming, finding a farmer to date, and the language of farming.

But finding a farmer is just the first step. Many pitfalls await for budding agricultural relationships.  Rest easy, Lorna has plenty of advice including how to pick the right color wellington boots for a date, how to enjoy a romantic tractor ride, and the signs you are destined to be a farmer’s wife.

This book isn’t just for girls hoping to meet the man of their dreams in wellies. Anyone already living the good life as a farmer’s wife will appreciate Lorna’s honest take on agricultural life.

I laughed when Lorna discussed appropriate etiquette for attending the cattle mart. My own grandmother was widowed at fifty years of age, and shortly afterwards received a marriage proposal at none other than the cattle mart. Barely out of mourning, she tactfully declined.  Refusing her potential suitor’s romantic propositions must have been difficult while “examining the hind quarter of a fine bullock.”

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Lorna and her family on their farm in Co. Carlow

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In the final section, Lorna offers solid advice on how to stay married to your farmer, once you have tied the knot. She explores the challenges faced such as lack of vacations, or romantic dates, how to feed contractors when you have only two eggs in the cupboard, bringing dinners to the field, and how to be mistress of your own domain.

Now if you believe you would never marry a farmer, let alone set foot on a farm, this book may still hold a chuckle or two for you. It offers wonderful insight into our Irish farming ancestors’ way of life. I highly recommend this book as a must-read guide, for anyone interested in rural Irish life, both past and present.

 Boxes of Would You Marry A Farmer

The Giveaway:

 

One lucky winner will receive a copy of Would You Marry a Farmer by Lorna Sixsmith.

To enter just leave a comment on this blog post by noon on Saturday, December 14th, 2013.  Any comment will do but if you need inspiration why not tell us a little bit about any farming experiences you may have.

A winning comment will be chosen randomly.  Remember to leave your e-mail so that I can contact you should you win.  Your e-mail won’t be published or shared, just used to contact our lucky contestant.

Winners will be announced on Saturday December 14th, so Lorna can get the winners’ prize in the mail.  Christmas delivery may not be possible, but it should arrive by the the New Year.

 

How To Buy This Book:

 

If you are interested in purchasing a copy of this book, just pop over to Lorna’s blog Irish Farmerette.  The cost is € 17 which is approximagely US$20.27  or US$27.02 inclusive of postage.

A big thank you to Lorna for sponsoring this giveaway.

 

Slán agus beannacht leat!

(Goodbye and blessings)

 

Irish American Mom

 

P.S. I did not receive any payment for this post, but simply received an advance copy of the book for review purposes. I hope you enjoy this book as much as I did.

 

 

 

 

 

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Dublin Sunrise

On cloudless mornings the sun rises over Dublin Bay, brilliantly illuminating the skies. Today I thought I would share some photos I took this summer, as Dublin slowly came to life, together with my poem, Dublin Sunrise. Hope you enjoy these words and images.

 

Dublin Sunrise Over Howth

An immense dark sky

Flushes in expectation,

Casting a glowing sheen

Across shimmering waves.

Dublin Bay At Sunrise

Branches glisten

With gleaming dewdrops.

Supporting an orchestra

Of chirping birds.

Sunrise over Howth

Shades of crimson deepen,

Streaking the sky,

Pulsating with knowledge

Of this day’s dawning.

Dublin Bay At Sunrise

Over Howth hill’s darkened rim

The sun rises,

Announcing its arrival

With radiating fiery stripes.

The sun rising over Howth and Dublin Bay

And as the sun continues

Its astral climb,

Dublin simply

Goes about its business.

Slán agus beannacht leat!

(Goodbye and blessings)

Irish American Mom

 

 

 

 

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