“The Bright Hollow Fog” by Marla Fibish: a magic trip into soul of Irish music.
Patrick O’Heffernan, Host Music Sin Fronteras
Well, we can’t have Christmas without Irish music – or at least I can’t, being an O’Heffernan and all. And to satisfy my Christmas craving for songs Irish is Marla Fibish’s 2020 album, The Bright Hollow Fog. Eleven songs, solo and duo interpretations of mostly Irish music on mandolin and mandola, The Bright Hollow Fog is an adventure and a joy. “Most of the recording is comprised of Marla’s interpretations of traditional tunes, along with a few of her originals, and many are performed with brilliant collaborations from luminaries of the Irish folk world like Bruce Victor, Rebecca Richman, Martin Hayes, and Keith Murphy.
A master mandolinist, Fibish jigs around in this album, moving from the familiar cadences of “The Humors of Derrycrosseane” to the tranquility of “The Quiet Glen”, to the soulful vocals of “Riversmoke” , and then dives into the sparkle and movement of “Ard Aoibhinn” and “The High Caul Cap”. The total experience is more than the sum of its parts – or songs – because of her mastery not only of her instrument and songwriting craft but her ability to infuse a kind of magical spirit into the music that you can hear when you listen close, but always feel.
Marla Fibish is a prominent voice in Irish mandolin music, using one if its lesser-heard instruments to delight Irish music lovers everywhere – including on her tours of Ireland. Marla also plays mandola, tenor guitar and button accordion and is known for her musical interpretations of poets, as well as original tunes written in traditional forms. She has performed and taught throughout the US and Ireland with Noctambule, and was a featured performer at the 2018 Masters of Tradition festival. She also performs and records in the duo, Noctambule, her longtime collaboration with guitarist and husband Bruce Victor.
All that skill and experience comes together in this album that tours you through the musical environment of the green isle, and especially as she winds the tour down by making you pause and lean forward to follow her lyrics in “Are You Diggin on my Grave”, and next appreciate the clear, individual notes of Ashes of Paraise”. Then you can lean back, take another sip of Connemara Peated Single Malt and drift away with the title song.
The Bright Hollow Fog magic’s you into the living room of the village luthier ‘s thatched home in County Wicklow for a jam session with the best musicians from miles around – led by the one of the best mandolin musicians anywhere.
The Bright Hollow Fog, by Marla Fibish (2020)
Available for streaming on Spotify
Marla Fibish http://www.marlafibish.com/, (www.noctambulemusic.com)
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Thank you for sharing! I love Irish arrangements of Christmas music. It is just uplifting.