By Mags Blackburn
I spoke to Eoghan Burke AKA Fia Rua recently about his new album “The Sky Went Low And The Sea Went High”. As the title suggests the central theme revolves around global warming and it’s consequences. Or, as the man himself puts it “I’m living in Galway so the weather and what happens because of it means it can be the main topic of conversation”. The title itself is a line from the first single “When Mark met Tom” a song about murder and not weather at all. “The line stood out so I chose it as the title and then it became apparent that global warming was a theme throughout the album so it fitted”, he explained.
Fia Rua is certainly embracing the lifestyle afforded to him in Galway and it comes across in his writing and this album. I would compare the single ‘When Mark Met Tom’ to something I can imagine the Furies or Dubliner’s would have sung. It’s the storytelling aspect of the song and Eoghan’s use of his own accent that makes his music stand out from other folk artists.
Not only is Fia Rua channelling Traditional Irish music in his song-writing but also in his themes. Masculinity is central throughout the album, first on “When Mark Met Tom” but especially on ‘Hard to be a Man’. Eoghan Burke doesn’t mince his words and we are rewarded with a refreshing take on a genre that can become repetitive. The directness of Burke’s description of Galway on a night out on the town on ‘Long Weekend (Galway Town)’ may leave some red faced but it is juxtaposed with his poetic descriptions of Connemara and beauty to be found there. You know those ads that say “If you like such and such then you’ll also enjoy this”. I would like to take this opportunity to apply that line here. If you Like Johnny Cash’s ‘Folsom Prison Blues’ then you will also enjoy ‘Waves Are Gonna Take Your Sons’.
Burke’s voice on “The Sky Went Low and The Sea Went High”, this his third album, is beguiling. It changed with the tempo and the timbre required of each song while retaining that hard edge throughout. His lyricism and song-writing is in the Traditional Irish music sense and in the same school as Damien Dempsey.
Check out his Bandcamp page here https://fiaruamusic.bandcamp.com/track/when-mark-met-tom