This time our light shines on an amazing Italian Paganfolk band that is gaining a lot of momentum throughout Europe. We’re talking of course about EMIAN, the four person band that last weekend even came as far north as Belgium, when they played at the fantastic Celtic Night Geluwe.
We have for you a review of their first album, AcquaTerra, which was released in 2014. Lots of harp, lots of good honest musical excellence, and an obvious Omnia influence, making it especially interesting for fans of that particular Dutch pagan band.
EMIAN is an Italian band, consisting of four people, Aianna Egan, Emain Druma, Rohan and Máirtín Killian, that have lost their hearts to Irish and Celtic music. With their first album “Acquaterra” (2014) they have left their mark on the European folk scene, and their musical prowess is also shown by the many, many concerts they play throughout the year!
Track 1: A Sailor’s Tale
Right off the bat the sounds of the harp take you into a dream-world, and as the song progresses the harp starts to play with the strings and you just know that this will be a “sit back and relax” type of album. The sounds of the sea, the creaking of ships decks, the ships bell keeping time, they all create an atmosphere well befitting the music, and the warm vocals and soft harmonies only add to the feeling. A Sailor’s Tale is a tale of love lost, and how could a sailor’s tale not be? With a harp that is very reminiscent of ‘Grunde Lunden’, at least in the beginning, and vocals that have the same style and feeling as ‘The Bold Fenian Men’, it is immediately clear that EMIAN is at the very least inspired by Omnia, and that they will certainly share a fan-base.
Track 2: The Last King’s March
The song starts off like something you might have heard in an old medieval castle, gentle, with a lot of clarity. But then, after the horn sounds to signal the march, the mood changes and the same melody now becomes part of something much more powerful. Anna certainly knows how to play the harp and in this song she takes the instrument all the way! There are many different levels of intensity, many different layers throughout the song, and they all flow together naturally like a story.
Track 3: Haughs of Cromdale
A pure Irish traditional about the Battle of Cromdale. If it weren’t for the clear Italian accent in the singing one would never know that this song wasn’t recorded by a very experienced Irish band. Very well done, a pleasure to hear!
Track 4: Butterfly
Butterfly is another traditional, but an instrumental one, and with a nice spin to it. Closing my eyes I can imagine children playing in the sun, dancing around to these wonderful tunes. All is good when listening to such a beautiful song!
Track 5: Mother’s Breath
It’s hard to describe how this song starts. Maybe one could say it starts with the sounds of chaos from which everything forms. But when the chaos subsides and the main melody starts we hear some more very clear and obvious Omnia influences! It is amazing to hear how EMIAN has taken this song and made it their own, with lyrics and musical variations. A song fit for Mother Earth!
Track 6: Dúlamán
Dúlamán has been played and recorded by many a band and artist, and everyone always gives it their own spin. EMIAN’s version is a very rhythmic and powerful one, almost making it sound like a war-song instead of a song about gathering seaweed and about love. The power in the percussion does make your heart strong, and when the song is finished it leaves you wanting more.
Track 7: Dance in Circle
The sharp harp sounds that this song starts with quickly snap you out of that dark deep power, and when the melody starts you immediately know why this song is called Dance in Circle. It is a very danceable track and I can certainly see large circle dancing, preferably around a large fire. Again an epic song, telling many tales through music alone, this song needs to be shared with as many friends as possible! Let’s all dance in the circle until the sun rises again!
Track 8: Echu Eo Ar Mare
Echu Eo Ar Mare, a Breton hanter dro, is the last song on this album unfortunately. I would have liked for this album to have continued, but I know there is only so much space on a disc. This song is a perfect ending though, as it is a perfect example of a song that can be enjoyed either just sitting on the sofa listening, dancing through your home, or dancing with a hundred visitors on a festival. It leaves us with great promises for the future!
Overall the album showed a lot of diversity while still maintaining unity. The traditionals are well played, keeping their character intact while at the same time spinning them in a way that it turns them into real EMIAN songs. ‘The Last King’s March’, their own creation, is en epic in and of itself, and I think I would choose that song as my favourite song of the album. We may have a new Monthly Marker here 😉
Hopefully we won’t have to wait too long before they start playing all the major festivals in Europe, and before they release another album, because I’m sure we haven’t seen the last of EMIAN yet!
Photo taken by: Claudio Del Piano