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MP3 Declan de Barra - Song of a Thousand Birds

A unique album from Irish neo singer songwriter, Intense and beautiful vocals accompanied by sparse guitar cello and violin.

11 MP3 Songs
ROCK: Acoustic, ROCK: Folk Rock

The past:
Declan de Barra was born in Waterford, Ireland and has been working as an independent musician since the age of 18. Forced to emigrate to Australia during the bleak 80’s, Declan quickly entered the Australian Music and Arts scene, touring the country for a number of years with his group “Non Intentional Lifeform” on Dutch label Roadrunner Records.

In 1999 he formed the musical group Clann Zú featuring various musicians from Melbourne’s Classical, punk and electronic scenes. Clann Zú became critically acclaimed internationally, releasing two albums on Canadian political label G7 Welcoming Committee, home to writers Noam Chomsky and Howard Zinn as well as acclaimed groups Propaghandi and International Noise Conspiracy. The albums “Rua” and “Black Coats and Bandages” made the top ten critics choices in various overseas press for 2002 and 2004.

Following Declan’s return to Ireland in 2002 he quickly became part of the Irish music and film scene. Continuing to perform with Clann Zú on their final tour throughout 2004 in Canada and Australia, Declan also found the time to perform as a solo artist in Ireland.

Filmmaking has always been the natural progression of Declan’s musical pieces and songs. Having received numerous accolades for his animations his works have featured in numerous national and international film festivals.

The present:
Everything about Declan de Barra is a tangled mess of warped angelic tones. An intense and passionate voice weaving dark, beautiful and powerful songs. Sparse compositions drawn with a lonesome cello or hobo guitar line glittering underneath a soaring and intimate voice. Musical sketches that barely touch the surface in one stroke and rip through the paper with heavy mark in the next.

There is an overwhelming sense of drama and movement in all his work. Dark vignettes play themselves out constantly inside his psyche. ‘I see little movies and images burning in my head, I turn them into paintings, I turn them into writing, I turn them into
songs.’ Translated into musical canvasses these beautiful and poignant songs mark Declan as one of the most unique most exciting voices to come out of the new Irish
music scene.

Musically de Barra is shape shifter, crossing many musical realms and living in none. From the moving dark melodies of the almost Sean Nós like “Leaves in the Autumn” to the intimate and sparse “Curfew”, to the huge and dramatic “Blackbird Song” and “Three Days
From Now”. It all has Declan’s unique tattoo carved in into it’s back. Lyrical themes running from tales of loves and lives lost, refugees, resistance, cultural reclamation, hope and survival. So where does he reside musically? In what musical compartment shall we place him? Is he a singer songwriter? Is a he a poet? A…? de Barra’s response to the question is “I don’t give a fuck what you call it…it’s music that comes out of me. I don’t have a choice. You can call it what you want as long as I get to write and sing” Song Of a Thousand Birds is Declan’s debut solo album. The songs recorded in various flats, basements and abandoned rooms in Dublin by de Barra over the course of a year and a half. Perhaps this explains the unique feel to the album, a sense of air left vacant, sparse and intimate lines whispered into your ear by an unseen singer. The melancholic feel on the songs tempered with an underlying hope that refuses to die, resistance to fate.

A troubadour, de Barra lives the music; he has lived hand to mouth for years, at times forced to steal food from bins in order to survive while making music. “There is no choice…I have to sing and write…it’s like a sickness, a beautiful sickness I am in love with. Song of A Thousand Birds was done with what ever I could beg borrow or steal, I ploughed what little money I had into buying microphones and the like, food rent and sleep were secondary issues. I was really lucky that so many great musicians liked the songs and helped me out. This album is all I’ve eaten, drank and slept for the past few years.”

Fortunately things have progressed rapidly for de Barra with Song of a Thousand Birds” receiving rave reviews all over Europe and Declan touring and playing festivals from Germany to Spain. Declan’s live show can only be described as intense. After years of touring the world in various cult bands Declan broke free of the constraints imposed by working as part of a band “I wanted to be free, free to say yes to shows anywhere, free to hop on a plane, train, boat, and play to new people every night in the most direct and intimate way. I didn’t want to hide behind anything or anyone anymore; every note and every word must live or die on its own merits. Honesty and simplicity can be like a punch in the face and that’s what I wanted, these songs had to liveand survive on their own”

Song of A Thousand Birds features some of the cream of Irish contemporary musicians. Rónán O’Snodaigh from Kila, Turlough Gunawardhana from The Chapters on cello, Richie Egan (AKA Jape) from Redneck Manifesto on bass, Cion O’Callaghan from Paddy Casey’s band on drums and renowned fiddle player Adrian Hart. Three of the songs also feature contributions by former Clann Zú band mates Russell Fawcus and Benjamin Andrews.



Former frontman of Clann Zú, "Blackbird Song" is the first single to be lifted from de Barra''s forthcoming debut , Song of a Thousand Birds. The first thing that hits you about de Barra is his voice: it''s full of that quivering emotion found in the vocals of Antony and the Johnstons, and even Johnny Cash. There''s an intensity and darkness which stems from the way he wraps his voice around the lyrics. Not since Jeff Buckley has hope ever sounded so desperate and wanting. On the flipside, ''Throw Your Arms Around Me'' is equally mesmerising. Desolate and bare, it affords de Barra''s voice the opportunity to soar. His phrasing, enriched by his country accent, only serves to highlight the vulnerability he sings about. A passionate, intense and stunning record. Hotpress Magazine (Ireland) - Single of the fortnight

Declan de Barra
Song of a Thousand Birds
Rogue Goat
four stars ****
Waterford''s Declan de Barra has a voice of oak, amber, suffering and steel, the baroque quality of a Nick Cave and a range akin to Jeff Buckley. Big words but just listen to ''Throw Your arms Around Me'' or ''Blackbird Song'' and you will feel like de Barra has just plugged himself directly into your psyche''s shadow. Cello, fiddle,piano and guitar adorn this hideously beautiful debut. - Sunday Tribune 26 March 2006

Some singer songwriters take time to win the listener over. Others have voices so evocative that they carry you away at once. Declan de Barra''s mesmerizing Falsetto has a strange, erie beauty that can stop the unsuspecting in their tracks. He comes from a trad background but his sparse and lonesome torch songs are closer in spirit to latter-day crooners Antony Hegarty and Rufus Wainright. On his debut solo album, song of a thousand birds, the waterford native is careful to keep his melodramatic impulses in check. For all it''s sweep and grandeur, this is a stripped down record at heart, often consisting only of de Barra''s voice and a gentle piano note. Singer songwriters rarely stand out from the crowd at first inspection. De Barra takes your breath away from the very beginning. Metro Newspaper Dublin - 4 out of 5 stars

"Declans''s voice is the instrument 99% of this worlds bands will never learn to play. You can give me a piano or violin and Declan and I think
I could live forever knowing it won''t get better than that."- Decoy Music - USA

"It may sound hackneyed but these are songs with a gaurantee of goose pimples. The intensity of de Barra’s voice is breath-taking, as well as the musical mix of rough, sparingly arranged acoustic-folk with a lot of celtic impact. Definitely no album for listening along the way – this piece of work requires calmness and concentration. But who follow this, will be rewarded richly.” Unicum, Album of the month March 06 - Germany

" De Barra singing in Irish and English manages to maintain a frailty that''s shatteringly beautiful" -The Age - Australia

"You will realize on listening for the first time to "Throw your arms around me" or single "Blackbird song", we are not before a conventional work, but before a small masterpiece." - Muzikalia - Spain

"It is one of the most stunning voices I have ever heard, deep and intense, always powerful… Within this Singer-Songwriter-Hype there are only a few candidates, who convince me, because they come across honest and unaffected. Maybe I’m impressed that this man is living art, maybe in the purest, maybe in the most immediate form – namely without ommiting anything.”https://www.tradebit.com -Germany

"Declan de Barra’s Songs almost glow from emotion...The vocal talent is amazing, almost Tim Buckley.” Intro - Germany

" Where Morrissey has always stood above his audience and talked down to them, de Barra sets himself right in the center of the chaos, drawing them in as much a true believer himself as a performer. The end effect is cathartic; an utter lack of pretense that comes from knowing he can''t fool a soul." - Earshot

"To say that DeClan de Barra is a musical genius is an understatement. To say that his former band, Clann Zu, was everything a band should ever be is absolute truth. To say that de Barra could never live up to the unbelievable expectations his previous works have set is pure science fiction. On his first official solo album, Song of a Thousand Birds, DeClan shows that he may not have progressed mightily, but he also most certainly has not lost a step.

At times minimalist, at others thoroughly drenched in instrumentation, Song for a Thousand Birds is a rare display, an album that allows de Barra''s distinctly original baritone to shine, accentuating the positives and downplaying the negatives. His phrasings, which have always been slightly off-kilter, are powerful, precise, and dramatic. His lilting, soaring voice fills space like few others. Whether it be pitted against guitar or violin, DeClan de Barra''s voice always comes out victorious.

Much like his voice, his first solo album, Song of a Thousand Birds, is a triumph. Soul-baring and spiritual, it helps to draw a firm line between art for art''s sake and art for the good of humanity. Sit this album next to a Van Gogh or a Rembrandt and it''s as at home as it would be next to The White Album or The Wall. Shine on, you crazy diamond."
https://www.tradebit.com - USA

If the singles released thus far are anything to go by, Declan de Barra''s forthcoming debut Song of A Thousand Birds should prove a cracker. ''Apple Tree'' , the follow up to last year''s Blackbird Song" is another sparse haunting and piercing piece of work. Again de Barra''s fragile and emotive voice is to the fore, often bringing a spiritual quality to the track. This particularly shines through in de Barra''s of t bewitching and poignant lyrics. Another gem and another track to whet anticipation for Song of a Thousand https://www.tradebit.compress Magazine - Ireland

"Eery-beautifully, gloomy debut of Clann Zú’s ex-frontman. Simply orchestrated and carried by his deep voice, his intimate melodies reach directly where they belong.”
Go münchen - Germany

"You dive into the depths of a man’s soul, who sings passionately and devotedly of lost loves and surviving…Every song is interpreted full of intensity and love. An Album for lonely hearts, for the ones who want to sink into pitifulness, but also an album full of hope.”- https://www.tradebit.com - Germany

"An intense and passionate album, on which above all the voice puts one into a spell" https://www.tradebit.com -Germany

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