t was clear from the moment that we met Sharon Shannon this afternoon at The Happy Pear what was going on…
The woman had fallen suddenly, madly, deeply in love. And she was determined to let the object of her affections know it.
Only trouble was, Max only had eyes for another. Namely, the stone that Sharon was holding in her hands.
Jaysus, I’ll say one thing for the world’s greatest Guide dog, when Max sets his sights on something, nothing, but nothing, will distract him.
Not even a platinum-selling, world-renowned,animal-loving, Irish trad superstar such as Sharon Shannon.
We met up today as the girl from Clare was swinging back through Wicklow – having recorded much of her new album, Sacred Earth, over in Acoustik Studios in Newtownmountkennedy – on a whistle-stop Thank You tour. Sharon’s 10th album, Sacred Earth sees the wily trad musician weave some African rhythms into the mix, with a little help from co-producer Justin Adams (Robert Plant’s right-hand man in The Sensational Space Shifters), whilst Greg Guy (son of the legendary Buddy) and Finbar Furey (who, bejiggers, channels Jim Reeves) also join in the jigs and reels.
Having established herself as something of an eclectic landlady with her groundbreaking 1991 eponymous debut – still the biggest-selling Irish trad album of all time, kids – young Sharon has travelled the world with her music whilst inviting the world into that music.
So, alongside that trademark happy-go-lucky accordian and feisty fiddle you’ll hear a Kora straight out of Africa, harmonica straight out of Poland (via Galway), and Chicago blues guitar, straight out of, well, Chicago. That Adams worked with the mighty Saharan blues merchants Tinariwen is a good indicator of the new Shannon soundscapes to be found on Sacred Earth.
To add to all that, Sharon’s got a great big hooley planned in the National Concert Hall on Thursday, August 17th – info and tickets available right about here.
In the meantime, we managed to distract Sharon away from Max just long enough for a quick video chat down in Greystones this afternoon.
You can follow Sharon on Facebook here, and find out more about Sacred Earth right here.
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