Blackbird and Crow – Maighread Ni Ghrasta and Stephen John Doohan - are a duo from Ireland’s County Donegal and 'Ailm', their latest long-player, sees them take their short career to a new level.
The duo composes and writes their own lyrics and music. Maighread’s vocal range is impressive and I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s witnessed her in action who’s made a comparison with Iron Maiden’s Bruce Dickinson. Stephen is a multi-instrumentalist who plays an impressive array of stringed instruments on the album, including some very dirty slide guitar.
Together the music they make is powerful and emotive. The defiant punk / blues tone of ‘The Witch That Could Not Be Burned’ contrasts with ‘Blackbird’, which is replete with Arabian influences.
‘Margaret the Martyr’ with regret and solemnness. Celtic mythology abounds the brooding ‘MorRioghain’ while soulful honesty and redemption feature in ‘Sweet Surrender’.
Their lyrics are inspired as much from their own experiences as from the stories and experiences of a culture based in an isolated rural landscape. Oppression – be it through religion or misogyny Addiction, poverty, and forced immigration are subjects that are all tackled with a gut punch.
With ‘Ailm’, Blackbird and Crow have delivered a record that has been fashioned in some dark places, yet never gives in to the darkness, preferring instead to stand up and face it head-on. Expect to see this record celebrated on many end of year lists.