Musical Connections and Collaborations

by Kerry Dexter /
Kerry Dexter's picture
Jul 17, 2023 / 0 comments

Solitude and community are each part of music, the creation of it as well as the listening. This is true of the stories told in song and tune, the ways they are shared, and the connections created among musicians...and between musicians and listeners.

Several pieces of music to help you think about and enjoy these aspects of musical connection:

Musical Connections and Collaborations

You will have the chance to hear musical collaboration and connection in tune and in song both in Saltwater/Flow/Cúcúín from Nuala Kennedy. The first two pieces in this set are tunes by Nuala, inspired by the sounds of the coast of Brittany, in France. Cúcúín is a song, a lullaby sung in Irish, which tells the story of a mother cuckoo talking with her chicks.

You will hear several musicians joining Nuala on the tunes, which move gracefully to the song. Among them are Tara Breen on fiddle, and Tony Byrne on guitar; Muireann Nic Amhloaibh adds backing vocals on the song, too. The set comes from Nuala’s album Shorelines, where you will find original and traditional music which speaks of the sea and of resiliences, especially in women’s lives. Nuala is originally from Dundalk, in the east of Ireland, and is now based in the country’s west, near the coast of Clare.

Cathie Ryan sings the song 12th of July (Lament for the Children). Sean Tyrell wrote the song, thinking of the Troubles and the divisions and connections across the island of Ireland. As much as it speaks to that, the ideas can apply in other countries and situations, also. Cathie Ryan is an Irish American who has lived in both countries, and has for some time been based at Ireland’s east coast. You will find the song recorded on Ryan’s first album, called Cathie Ryan. You may also wish to see her album Through Wind and Rain.

Other sorts of connection are found in the song Will Your House Be Blessed, in both words (Harry Manx wrote it) and in recording and performance by the band Rani Arbo and daisy mayhem. That is Rani with the lead voice and on fiddle, Scott Kessel on percussion, Andrew Kinsey on bass, and Anand Nayak on guitar. Each of them brings a different background to the music. They have been playing together for almost two decades now; this song is one of the ways to enjoy how well these New England-based musicians explore musical community together. You will find the song recorded on their album Some Bright Morning. You may also wish to see their album Wintersong.

Another celebration of collaboration in word, melody, and musical connection comes from the band Breabach, who are from Scotland. Ewan Robertson wrote the song Revolutions and sings lead; he is joined by band members Calum MacCrimmon, James Lindsay (who edited the video), Megan Henderson, and Conal McDonagh. They brought in friends and family members to tell the story in the video, brining in another sort of connection. That, and the fact that climate events are happening with increasing frequency, make it a good time to consider this song -- and the video -- again. You will find it recorded on Breabach’s album Fàs.

May the creativity of these artists help to inspire you as you think about ideas of connection, in music and in other aspects of life.



Thank you for staying with us through this journey. Below, you'll find a link that will take you to an article which has a bit more backstory on the series. It also has links to a number of the stories, including ones called Listening for Community, Music for Winter's Changes, and The Geography of Hope.

Music for Shifting Times

Music for Shifting Times



Kerry Dexter is Music Editor at Wandering Educators. 

You may find more of Kerry's work in National Geographic Traveler, Strings, Perceptive Travel, Journey to Scotland, Irish Fireside, and other places, as well as at her own site, Music Road.


Photo courtesy and copyright Rani Arbo and daisy mayhem, adapted by Wandering Educators