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Four years in the making and marking their ninth year performing together, "The Broken Pledge" is The Bonny Men's latest studio album. This new record has a deeply reflective level of joyousness running through, which touches on themes of the current social environment and history of Ireland.
Since forming in January 2011, The Bonny Men quickly and deservedly became the most talked about and exciting acts to emerge in the Irish trad / folk music scene. With their third album “The Broken Pledge”, The Bonny Men have taken all of their collective experience and have shaped an album that delivers Traditional Irish music with a new and vibrant sound, all underpinned with the unique driving arrangements that The Bonny Men are known for.
Comprised of seven individuals - each masters of their own instruments with titles among them including multiple All-Ireland Champions, World Bodhrán Champion, and a recipient of the prestigious TG4 “Young Musician of the Year” - The Bonny Men generate a powerful sound that encapsulates the very soul of traditional music.
Singing a mixture of original and contemporary folk songs, laden with creative harmonies, and playing sets of tunes bursting with explosive energy, their music always delivers.
With clever and intriguing arrangements, never shy of character or personality, every Bonny Men gig is a musical experience from start to finish.
Specific to this album , enhancing and complimenting its sound , was the decision to incorporate a range of collaborations with legendary musicians, Steve Cooney (didgeridoo and bass); Tim Doyle (violin); Martin Johnston (cello); Adele Johnston (viola); and Rónán O’Neill (percussion).
Careful consideration has gone into the music on this album and the overall theme. When selecting a name for the album, it was decided to call it “The Broken Pledge”, after one of the tune titles. As an Irish cultural reference, it also resonated immediately given the different types of pledges that can be made and subsequently broken.
It could merely be the drinking pledge most school - going children had to take at the age of 12, but it could also be interpreted on so many other levels. Years of forced emigration, the current homeless crisis, climate change, the list goes on.
Although the usual energetic sound carries on from the first two albums, this one definitely has a darker, more sombre edge to it. Tunes and songs deeply rooted in Irish social history such as The Repeal of the Union, The Sun is Burning and Tunnel Tigers have been honoured and presented in the unique and inimitable way signifying the sound of The Bonny Men.
The role of traditional and folk music in telling the stories of a society is front and centre on The Broken Pledge, the third album from The Bonny Men. Four years in the making, its lengthy gestation has served it well.
Photo Credits: (1)-(2) The Bonny Men (unknown/website).