Artist: Martha Farquhar-McDonnell
Songs: The Singing Bird (with Isla Craig) [traditional] + Black is the Colour of My True Love's Hair [trad. arr. Martha Farquhar-McDonnell]
Recorded at Church of St. Andrew by-the-lake, June 5, 2016.
One of the city's most beautiful voices can finally be heard on its own by a wider crowd. Martha Farquhar-McDonnell is perhaps best known as one-third of Kith & Kin, a vocal trio that she sings in alongside her mother and sister. (Their annual Christmas Wassails at the Music Gallery are always highlights of the season.) Under the guidance of vocal ace Alex Samaras (and his new High Park Records imprint), she has recorded My Singing Bird, a collection of unaccompanied vocal music in the Irish sean-nós style.
A lifelong resident of Toronto Island, the album was recorded in the beautiful cottage-like Church of St. Andrew by-the-lake, and she returned there to celebrate its release. Most of the album was tackled (including the title track, which was presented in a duet arrangement with Isla Craig) as well as a few other songs with some of her kith and kin. After dark clouds and a sudden cloudburst, this show was accompanied by the sounds of birds curling in from outside the church. Similarly, this music on My Singing Bird is a balm for the weary and a joyful ray of light.