Dream Smarter by Stephen Molloy: “takes a well known folk tale form and warps it and twists it until it becomes relevant for the present”

We asked some music people to tell us about tracks they love from the west coast. Here is a selection from Clare artist Ushmush.

Ní cloisfeá an iomarca ó Stephen Molloy, ach iontach an rud is féidir éisteacht leis. Tá nasc idir stíl scríbhneoireacht Stephen agus mo cheoil féin ceapaim – agus is ar “Brides Glen” a féidir í sin a cloisteáil. Tá spreagadh amhránaíocht ceol tíre uaidh na tíortha ceilteacha le cloisteail san amhrain seo, ach go hairithe sa foirm agus sa bhealach ina phléann Stephen and scéal amach dúinn. Tógann sé an logainm Brides Glen – stad Luas i mBÁC – agus ritheann sé le seanscéal faoi rí agus banríon agus an caidreamh a bhí eatarthu. Tar éis cúpla líne áfach – is léir go bhfuil Stephen ag déanamh aistriúcháin ar eachtra éigean idir ghnáth daoine ag an stad Luas seo agus go bhfuil muid i brionglóid i lár a cheann. Bhí tionchar mór ag an amhráin seo orm, agus an bealach ina féidir leat tógáil seanscéalta agus iad a dhéanamh bríomhar don aimsir láithreach – seo technique a úsáidtear i Sean Nós freisin. Ó taobh an ceol de, is léir go raibh tionchar ar Sufjan Stevens ar an socrú ceol a dhéan Stephen ar an amhráin seo agus tá sé chomh deas ar na cluasa.

There is a connection between Stephen‘s songwriting style and my own – and you can hear that on “Brides Glen”. There’s an audible celtic folk influence in this track, especially in the form of storytelling Stephen engages in. He takes the evocatively named Luas stop and runs with an old mythological tale about a king and a queen and their relationship. After a few lines however, it’s clear that we are in a surreal Stephen Molloy daydream and the people on the Luas are playing their part in this ongoing fantasy. This was an influential piece of work in my songwriting, in the way that Stephen takes a well known folk tale form and warps it and twists it until it becomes relevant for the present. This is something that Sean-Nós music has also done so well. On the musical side there’s a shade of Sufjan Stevens in the arrangement that Stephen went for here, and it is so nice on the ear. Back to front “Dream Smarter” is a great EP, but on a personal level this track is extremely important in my musical life.

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