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ABOUT RAIN DANCE
Rain Dance is the third studio album by Irish virtuoso guitarist and composer Shane Hennessy. It was released on April 21st 2020. Culture Ireland supported the release of this album under the #IrelandPerforms initiative, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The album was débuted via a livestream shown simultaneously on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, and VK.com. You can watch this livestream here.
"Rain Dance provides a wonderful introduction to Shane Hennessy’s music for those who are unfamiliar; for established fans it’s a triumphant reaffirmation of his virtuosity and compositional excellence." - Mark Lysaght, Irish Music Magazine
"At last year’s Milwaukee Irish Fest the whispers among the musicians mentioned one name; Shane Hennessy. The must-see performer, the man who could get Grant Wood’s American Gothic couple laughing and dancing. Hennessy’s guitar playing was almost unbelievable, even amongst those who knew their way around the instrument.
Rain Dance is Shane’s third studio album and will cement his reputation as one of the finest guitarists to come out of this hemisphere this century, yes Carlow might claim him, but talent like this belongs to the world. No need for whispers any more, you can shout that to all and sundry.
In many ways this is a difficult album to review, Hennessy’s musical mind is a kaleidoscope, translating to the guitar as multiple rhythms, hammer-ons, pull-offs, slides, runs, arpeggios and harmonics. Often within a single passage of a tune. They may have single titles but the music within them is dynamic, their themes and tensions flexible, virile, versatile and sinuous, there is nothing static or predictable about any of them. Rain Dance the title track, seems inspired by the Soukous kora tradition of West Africa, with its repeated walking motifs that Hennessy works around harmonic pulses. Momentum lives up to its name, with running finger style patterns and a bosa-nova groove as the piece succumbs to a Latin jazz patina. The nearest we get to traditional Irish is track 9 Travelling Tune. I can see its theme being simplified and ending up in a session in a year’s time. Track 11 is the bonus track; called Jumbo it’s a jazz swing tour de force.
The guitar has probably been the most influential instrument of the past 100 years, and in the hands of maestros like Shane Hennessy its true potential as the ultimate portable orchestra is brought to life. If you are a guitarist this is one for your collection, perhaps not to emulate, but certainly to inspire. With just 6 strings and 19 or so frets Hennessy’s Rain Dance is amazing music from any angle." - Seán Laffey, Irish Music Magazine
"The end results are truly spectacular – the opening track Momentum was conceived while travelling by train in Germany, and reflects the constant need to keep moving while on the road. The title track Rain Dance is influenced by African polyrhythms and pictures a tribe coming together in a ritual setting, a nice example of how Shane can create shifting musical moods at will. Another remarkable piece is called L’Isola, which was conceived during a short stay in Sicily. This composition went through a number of iterations before Shane settled on the final structure.
The undoubted tour de force on the album is Trouvailles, which clocks in at 8 minutes 44 seconds and is based on the universal theme of love, but in three distinct sections representing different romantic experiences. It draws on some classical influences such as Claude Debussy. This really illustrates the wide variety of inspirations he draws on; elsewhere Nightflying is a wonderful homage to the music of Steely Dan and Donald Fagen in particular (The Nightfly is Fagen’s masterpiece). He returns to his Irish traditional roots on Travelling Tune, which he often plays live as an affirmation of his national identity. A bonus track, Jumbo, was performed on a baritone guitar which happened to arrive at the studio during the recording." - Mark Lysaght, Irish Music Magazine
Album Artist: Shane Hennessy
Produced by Shane Hennessy
Engineering and Mixing by Connor Thomas
Mastering by Marc DeSisto
All tracks composed and arranged by Shane Hennessy
Label: Exchequer Music
Release Date: April 21st 2020