She Moved Through The Fair

Album: Elemental (1985)
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  • Before performing "She Moved Through The Fair" at the harp for her live Alhambra recording, Loreena McKennitt explained: "This next piece is probably one of the earliest pieces I learned in the more overtly Irish Celtic repertoire; it is a piece that comes from the West Coast of Ireland. The lyrics were written by a man called Padraic Colum... although the melody is traditional. And, you can still hear some of the Eastern influences in this melody."

    Padraic Colum (1881-1972) was born Patrick Collumb; as well as a poet he was a dramatist, folklorist and children's writer. He was also the biographer of James Joyce, whom he knew personally.
  • This song has been fairly widely recorded, including by Sinead O'Connor and Charlotte Church, the former who performed it a cappella at the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize Gala in Oslo where she dedicated it to Diana Princess of Wales and Dodi Fayed in the wake of the Paris car crash that claimed both their lives. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Alexander Baron - London, England, for above 2
  • Josh Groban covered this on his 2013 All That Echoes album. He first came across the haunting traditional Irish song while "having my late-night glass of wine and trawling YouTube" via a live solo version by English folk-rock legend Richard Thompson. "Having grown up on Irish music, I thought, 'Let's give it a try,'" he said.

    To give it the right tone, Groban brought in virtuoso on the Irish Uilleann pipes, Eric Rigler. "After writing sessions, trying to be clever, it's nice to be reminded by songs like this that just sit in a place that's right."


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