June 1, 2006
Karen Mal brings fresh insight to the folk tradition with a definitive songbook of new and old Celtic love songs, beautifully produced by multi-instrumentalist (accordion, guitar, mandolin, bass, bouzouki, percussion, piano, virtual harp, vocals) Gabriel Donohue, with Matt Mancuso on fiddle and Joanie Madden on whistles. What makes Mal's interpretations special is her commitment to the reality of her characters, and a respect for the dignity of human passions. Karen's crystalline voice, perfectly complemented by the understated accompaniments of Gabriel Donohue, takes you back to an older, simpler and more beautiful place.
Originally from Plainville, Connecticut, more recently from Wisconsin, Karen worked in regional theatre for several years as an actor and musical director/composer before settling in Austin, Texas to play music full-time. She has become one of the most sought-after performers around, both as a solo artist and as a sideman for others on mandolin, guitar, and harmony vocals. She has lived and worked in places from Manhattan to Memphis, from Wisconsin to California , and toured in 40 states. She won the Wildflower festival songwriting award in 2005, and performed several gigs as guest singer with Cherish the Ladies.
A few words from Karen: "Working for years at American Folklore Theatre had a big part in shaping my "voice" as a performer and songwriter, and really helped lead me to folk music, which was more or less inevitable, I think. In some ways it's more a question of de-evolving, of stripping things away until you get to the truth of folk music. I love acoustic instruments; I love music that comes from the deepest and at the same time simplest part of a culture or tradition. I just love the sound of a human voice singing soulfully with just a guitar or a small collection of acoustic instruments. I love the potential for emotion and truth and vulnerability that's there. It's EVERYBODY'S roots."
Celtic Radio Comments - A real gem of a CD. Karen's diamond rough voice will take you on a journey through Celtic Americana. Her songs of love are of mostly Irish and English background. A beautiful, unique and seductive voice that will have you listening over and over again!