New York Harbor Channel is proud to present the journey Behind The Scenes Making of Brooklyn Bards’ New Album. Our production features the players who collaborated to produce one of their songs on the new release, Botany Bay. Each artist offers a tasty slice of the tune’s backstory, unraveling the musical composition and recording techniques.
Our ten minute video gives viewers clear meaning to the song lyrics through images and narration with unprecedented access to the studio. The Brooklyn Bards and audio engineer, Vinny Pedulla, layer their tracks and piece together the finished product.
Kiernan Hamilton and Donal Nolan, the founding members and the original duo, explain how Robert Montemarano and Joseph Mayer eventually joined the band.
The band members all hailing from Irish roots on the shores of New York harbor in Brooklyn as first generation offspring, all have diverse musical tastes outside of this genre. However, it is clear there is a driving need and desire to experiment and deliver the Brooklyn Bard sound. Like American blues, Irish folk music has a genealogy that can be traced back to its origins as well as applauding its present and future.
Something old is something new! The recent explosion of theSea Shanty craze on Tik-Tokcouldn’t be more timely. It serves as a great way to share, communicate, and create on a classic platform that is centuries old. As Kiernan Hamilton explains, sea shanties are a fundamental element of their sound. Irish drinking songs and ballads are equally important to round out their repertoire.
The history of Botany Bay as an important homage to Sydney, Australia explains the emigration of the Irish as a result of the potato famine. It is no secret the region was first a penal colony dating back to 1788. We can see it here referenced in the song lyrics “For to take old Pat, with a shovel on his back, to the shores of Botany Bay”. Find the story here in our previous article, Local Brooklyn Band Tied To History Of Australia Day.
At the 7 minute mark into the video, Robert Montemarano says “It’s a song about moving to Australia, and a lot of Irish Immigrants moved to Australia, also a lot of Irish prisoners and slaves were shipped off to Australia and it has a lot to do with this port that we’re coming into.”
The album is a collection of traditional British Isle tunes. Allow yourself to harken back to the past for a few minutes. Donal Nolan’s tin whistle playfully invites you to follow him deep into the mystical landscape with a hypnotic capture. In time, he gently releases you with a hand-off to the other voices offered in the tune. Harmonies are beautifully delivered and could be a singular reason to give the album an ear.
Musically, Joe Mayer’s brilliant mastery of an array of string instruments displays an obvious intimate knowledge. As a professional luthier, his mandolin, fiddle, and banjo sing out with a clever voice of their own. His offerings are well distributed across the album.
Rob’s percussion lays a rhythmic melody of its own that offers a choice blend centered by his djembe, the African drum. Such a taste of nontraditional approaches can be gleaned from the recordings that offer a window for the listener to embrace.
Cross-culture is celebrated as it is easy to understand where immigration and migration has driven its song. In a perfect utopia, the Immigration issue would not be considered an issue at all. We would all be happy sharing diverse opinions and cultures. We cannot forget about our own ancestries and our own journeys. Let us not forget that if we are not indigenous people to our land, all of us arrived as strangers at some point.
In relation to this presentation, the Irish emigration story is no exception. Over two centuries, it populated both Australia and North America. Reaching out a hand across physical or ethereal barriers, there are several examples of artists participating in cross-cultural experiments.
One that comes to mind is Odetta, the famous black American female blues artist who celebrated and internalized Irish Folk Music with the Clancy Brothers. Such cross-cultural steps expanded new interpretations. You owe it to yourself to give the Brooklyn Bards sound a listen. You won’t be disappointed.
The album is slated for release just in time for Saint Patty’s Day on March 17th. New York Harbor Channel will keep you posted on our Current Events Calendar. Hopefully, the Brooklyn Bards will prelude the release with a series of live broadcasts that will appear on this channel.
Keep tuned as we are already working on our next Docusensory presentation as we feature a new artist offering every month. Want to share your songs’ backstory or even need help recording a song? Look no further because NYHC is here to help. Reach out to our Content Department at [email protected]. Of course, the musical themes should be marine related to appeal to our water-loving audience but we are always open to creating content for any musician.
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Dr. Craig O’Connell is the co-founder and executive director of O’Seas Conservation Foundation, Inc based in Montauk. Dr. O’Connell's nonprofit foundation focus's on researching different species of sharks through camera studies, bycatch reduction technologies, and underwater video surveillance.
Janie Meneely, a songwriter, wrote a poem some years back on Grandma Polly, a true story from the Radcliffe clan, and Senator from Maryland describing their feisty relative. Apparently, Grandma Polly was upset when she found out the British commandeered the family merchant vessel and took her husband with it.
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