Leaving Lurgangreen is the cheerful and adventurous debut solo album from Coatbridge-born flautist, singer and harpist Sarah Markey, to be released on Friday 6th May.
The record is dedicated in memory to her grandmother, who was from Lurgangreen, County Louth in Ireland, and is a reflection on Sarah’s musical journey so far, with an enthralling mixture of her own compositions and traditional repertoire from Scotland, Ireland and Spain.
Glasgow-based Sarah Markey was a BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year finalist in 2019 and has collaborated with some of the traditional music scene's top artists, including Calum Stewart and Mec Lir.
Leaving Lurgangreen sees her creatively blend Irish and Scottish traditional styles with Spanish Asturian music, drawing on her experience of living in Spain and taking listeners on a musical journey that draws on themes of heritage, immigration and friendship.
Sarah’s experience of Spain comes to life through the calming track Estrellas, inspired by Sarah’s memories of playing sessions with her friends in Cáceres, and the fast-paced Licor de café, which features a set of traditional Asturian tunes.
She takes us to Scotland with the playful tunes Off She Jumped and Late Night in Glasgow, inspired by time spent enjoying music with friends at Celtic Connections, while The Spark Among the Heather tells the story of the Highland Clearances and Crofters' War in Glendale, Skye.
The title track Leaving Lurgangreen is an upbeat, cheery tune dedicated to Sarah’s granny and their Irish connections, meanwhile, Sarah’s sweet and tender vocals feature on tracks The Star of Sweet Dundalk, a mellow love song inspired by the Irish town.
Sarah Markey said: “It wasn’t until choosing the title Leaving Lurgangreen that I realised the biggest inspiration behind the album for me was my granny Sarah Grant. She was originally from Lurgangreen and moved over to Scotland to start a life with my granda John Grant. My granny and granda were my first introduction to traditional music and they always will be an inspiration to me.
“The theme of immigration is definitely something that has inspired my album, both from my family’s background as well as my own experience of moving abroad to Spain and Italy. The album for me is a reflection of my musical journey so far. It gives an insight into where music has taken me and the people and places that have inspired me along the way.”
Sarah, who appears on flutes, harp and vocals, is joined by Marty Barry on guitar, bouzouki and banjo, Charlie Stewart on double bass, fiddle and strings and Jack McRobbie on guitar. Other artists that feature on the record include Conor Markey on bouzouki and banjo, Hayley Keenan on piano, Calum Stewart on uilleann pipes and harmonium, Eamonn Nugent on bodhrán, Rubén Bada on bouzouki, guitar, mandola and harmonium and Tomas Callister on fiddles.
The album was recorded and mixed by Angus Lyon at Gran’s House Recording Studio in Lamington, with additional recording by Liam King at Black Gate Recording Studio in Galway. It was mastered by Ross Saunders at GloWorm Recording in Glasgow.