"...Black Rose is an album filled with elegance and emotional beauty...it has all the satisfying elements that you can find in a traditional album. Yet it has the experimental quality of a New Age or Ambient album.... his influences are very refreshing.." --The Celtic Music Fan
"...a unique blend of vocals and instrumental songs. Each track is delightful and refreshing. Mr. Hoye brings magic to the harp and sings with a soulful voice."--The Celtic Crier
Black Rose has been many years in making. Several of the tracks were written long ago for two other projects, Seranati, a progressive rock group, and The Spriggans, a Celtic ensemble. Both groups performed and recorded in the 1990s in the Detroit area. These songs did not see the light of day then, and they have simmered on the back burner of my mind over the years. I have re-imagined them for this, my first solo recording. Black Rose has slowly taken shape, like a musical journey with many vistas along the way. It is a fusion of many of the things that empassion me: traditional Celtic, pop, folk, and ambient musical styles.
Black Rose, the tune, was written for a friend when she had hit upon some sad times. I had initially imagined it as a prelude to a tune called Beauty's Daughters (a.k.a., Lord Byron's Stanza's for Music II) crafted by my self and guitarist Patrick Penta, and played by both The Spriggans and Seranati. The refrain was written without my knowledge of the term Black Rose being attributed to Ireland; a sort of code word for the longing for a independent country during the British rule. This was a happy accident, and I humbly offer it up as a new, Sean Nos, or "old style," a cappella song, like those popular in traditional Irish music. Two other songs here fall in this category: The Flower of Magherally (a traditional Irish tune) and Sad Nika. My friend, singer-songwrite John Hammink, wrote Sad Nika after a hiking trip in Europe. He wrote it for me to sing while I was a member of The Spriggans. I am exceedingly happy to be making it available here now. Thanks so much for waiting, John. Hope you aren’t disappointed with the effort.
Oh Rainy Wind and A Place Where Time Stops were both written for Seranati. Oh Rainy Wind describes my life walking to and from bars with various women, or just walking into and out of pubs on long nights. It was written at the behest of the keyboardist, Stefan Economou. Stefan desperately wanted to sing more bright, pop, rather that dark, blues influenced tunes. Here is your "Beatles" tune, Stefan, re-figured as a three-part, a capella, drinking song.
I like to think A Place Where Time Stops was influenced by Sufi and Hindustani religious, devotional poetry and spiritual traditions. I was also between girlfriends when I wrote it, so I can’t deny the process of sublimation in its inception. Singing in a rock band did have some fringe benefits, I suppose.
Ultima Thule is an improvised theme with multi-tracked harp and whistle. My friend Bryan Moore, sculptor and director of HP Lovecraft film and fandom fame, inspired it, naming his new home after the term. "Ultima Thule" is an idea from the ancient Greeks—the most distant, northerly island, geographically, from their perspective. Perhaps Hibernia? Albion? Who knows? By the time the Romantics referenced it in poetry and lieder, when the world had been fairly well mapped, it was an imaginary country; a land of the dream realms. I thought the pentatonic setting would give it an ancient flavor, as well as lending itself to improvisation.
Eleanor Plunkett/Fanny Poer: two tunes attributed to the 17th century, Irish harper, Turlough O'Carolan. These were both written as slantes, or tributes to two of his patrons. I attempted to give a more "archaic" sound to the arrangement with the inclusion of the descending arpeggios. The second tune includes whistle and djembe, an African hand drum, rounding it out with a full ensemble quality.
The South Wind/Carrickfergus: The first tune is attributed to O'Carolan, but sounds more like a simple folk tune to me, so he may have just grafted his own poetry to an older tune, or it was never really a part of his repertoire. Carrickfergus is a permutation of the Scottish tune, "The Water is Wide." Dominic Behan, Brendan Behan's brother, first recorded it, and attributed it to, of all folks, Peter O'Toole who learned it in, of all places, a pub; fine couple of folks for a harper to be vicariously connected to.
A Neansaí Mhíle Grá: is a simple instrumental version of this Gaelic love song for the harp.
Thanks to the following for their support and inspiration: Ma & Da and clan Hoye; Dick Anderson of Woodsong Musical Instruments for creating a superior harp that has held up all these years; Eric & Cynthia Cathcart, Rachel Hair, Steve Toth, & Chris Caswell for recording tips, and encouragement; all Spriggans great and small (you know who you are); wirestrungharp.com, my Soundcloud cronies and FB harp associates; John Hammink for writing such a great tune and waiting so long; Regina Harris Baiocchi for kind words and perspective; Delhi street food vendors, just because you deserve recognition, and Atul Mohan for pointing me in their direction, and providing encouragement for this project; the worldwide Khanna tribe (cheers!), and, especially, my wife Shabnam.
All Songs Copyright 2012 ℗ & © Scott Hoye, and registered with BMI, except Sad Nika, which is copyright © 1992/2012 John Hammink, this recorded version 2012 ℗ Scott Hoye, BMI Registration both composers. All material performed, recorded & mixed by the artist at Cat Fish Bird Studio, Chicago, IL, Mastered by David Laney at Channel Fuse Media, Memphis, TN.