Voices From The Merry Cemetery

Composed Shaun Davey


Shaun Davey is once again breaking new musical ground with his latest album ‘Voices From The Merry Cemetery’ (TARA4023). The music is the product of a highly unusual collaboration between the well-known Irish composer, working with Irish and Romanian musicians; it takes the form of a collection of thirteen specially-composed songs with words based on grave inscriptions from Northern Romania.

The cemetery, in the village of Sapânta on Romania’s border with Ukraine, is known as The Merry Cemetery for its tradition of brightly painted, carved wooden crosses, each decorated with a painted bas-relief and poem describing the life of the departed. Some are full of pathos, others are light-hearted, often intentionally comic. It was from these epitaphs that Shaun derived the lyrics of the songs in ‘Voices from the Merry Cemetery’. View Song lyrics

Some of the album was recorded live at the Sibiu International Theatre Festival in the Evangelical Cathedral, Sibiu, Transylvania in 2009 where the Irish musicians travelled with support from Culture Ireland. The rest was recorded this summer in the Reformat Church, Sighetu, Maramures, during rehearsals for the concert in the Merry Cemetery itself as part of ‘The Long Road to Sapânta Festival’ organized by Irishman Peter Hurley. The recording features Irish artists Rita Connolly and Liam O’Flynn with the Romanian Men’s Choir of the Theology Faculty, Sibiu, directed by Pr. Dr. Sorin Dobre with musicians from the State Philharmonia, conducted by David Brophy

The Voices From The Merry Cemetery suite received its Irish Premier at a concert in St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin on Nov 27th 2010. To mark the launch Shaun Davey attended the concert by the RTÉ Concert Orchestra with conductor David Brophy, vocalist Rita Connolly, and uilleann piper Liam O'Flynn, Gerry O'Beirne guitar, Noel Eccles percussion, David Leigh organist/keyboards, Eóin Ó Beaglaioch concertina/accordion, The Men's Choir of the Faculty of Theology from Sibiu directed by Pr. Dr. Sorin Dobre and the Dun Laoghaire Choral Society. The Mens Choir from Sibiu appeared with support from The Romanian Cultural Institute.

The concert was introduced by his Exellency Iulian Buga, Romanian Ambassador to Ireland.

As part of Romanian Cultural Days in Dublin Voices From The Merry Cemetery composed by Shaun Davey and featuring Rita Connolly and Liam O'Flynn was performed in Dublin's National Concert Hall with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra conductor David Brophy. Also appearing will The Male Voice Choir of the Theology Faculty in Sibiu, conducted by  Fr Sorin Dobre and members of  Dun Laoghaire Choral Society.