New band The Haar introduces the fresh talent of traditional Irish singer Molly Donnery combined with three of the most exciting instrumentalists on the folk and traditional music circuit: Cormac Byrne (Instrumentalist of the Year 2019, FATEA Magazine Music Awards), Adam Summerhayes (‘a Paganini of the traditional violin’ fROOTS) and Murray Grainger (‘Gorgeous stuff’ BBC Radio 3). Like the eponymous sea-mist, which rolls in both east and west from the Irish and North Seas, the music in their debut record varies in denseness and viscosity. It is at once tangible and fleeting, headily thick one moment and thinly dispersed the next. Three masterful instrumentalists provide an improvised space from which Molly’s pure and unadulterated vocals can emerge. The Haar is a collection of traditional Irish songs tackling love, poverty and oppression – common subjects that link the peoples of these islands. This is music that is not afraid to transcend borders – whilst recognisably born of the traditional musics that all members have grown up with and absorbed, it is unapologetic in pushing at the edges in order to create the band’s own unique and compelling sound.
THE HAAR – THE ALBUM
Molly Donnery – vocals
Cormac Byrne – bodhrán and percussion
Murray Grainger – accordion
Adam Summerhayes – fiddle
Two musicians stand in a crowded pub on the Irish island of Inis Oírr; a flame-haired girl silences the room with a quiet unaccompanied song – Molly’s voice was worth the silence.
An impulsive decision follows, and at sunset the next day, Molly, Adam and Cormac meet at a timeless shipwreck on the wild Atlantic shoreline. They sit on a rock and a simple traditional song emerges – just voice, fiddle and bodhrán. No rehearsal, no arrangement – the song performed intuitively … the seed of an idea that grows into The Haar, the lineup completed when Molly and Murray (accordion) meet for the first time in the studio to record Irish traditional songs tackling love, poverty and oppression –subjects that link the peoples of these islands.
In the studio, the music flows from the bands first notes together – reminiscent of the haar, a sea mist that rolls in from the Irish and North Seas: fleeting, intangible, headily thick, suddenly overwhelming and then unexpectedly clearing for a glimpse of precious sunlight. The band make no plans, just letting the music create itself; the tracks on the album are the first and only versions, as unpredictable and ephemeral as the haar itself.