Musings on Rapalje’s ‘Hearts’

Genre: Celtic Folk
As the latest offering from the Celtic Folk band, Rapalje, Hearts manages to live up to the high standards that previous records have set.
The album opens with the familiar sound of the Manowar cover, ‘Hearts of Steel’. This piece is probably one of my favourites performed by Rapalje as the raw sound combined with the lyrics makes for really powerful listening. The arrangement is something special from the driven fiddle, to the heart beat rhythm of the drum, to the entrance of the bagpipes. It’s a real experience.
‘Heart of Steel’ with video from
The other song that you’re pretty much guaranteed to know, no matter your usual genre, is ‘Fairytale of New York’. Proving that it’s not just a Christmas song (*), and not just a duet, this is a slightly different, if authentic rendition of a well known mainstream piece. 
Although I love the two above, the highlight of the CD is probably ‘Teddy O’Neill’. This love song is just so beautiful lyrically and I can’t help but listen to it over and over. I also rather enjoy the unity that can be drawn between this and the earlier ‘Spancil Hill’. Intentional or not, those two have become a pair in my mind.
The instrumental pieces take the form of ‘The Butterfly-The Kid on the Mountain’ and ‘Busindre Reel’. Really pleased find ‘The Butterfly’ on here as that’s a really fun piece to play (when I gave Aimee some basic whistle lessons she really enjoyed the first bit… until it gets a bit trickier!). Will be nice to chuck this recording at her next time I see her! As one would expect, it flows nicely into ‘The Kid on the Mountain’. ‘Busindre Reel’ is a fast little bagpipe led piece and gives a nice contrast.
Okay, as I’ve spoken about all but one tune now (not what I intended). Guess I better mention the final track, ‘The Sick Note’. I won’t go into too much detail lest I ruin it but this one is a good fun little a cappella story detailing why a gentleman won’t be going to work… Must try this on one of the uni lectures one day 😉
Overall, I have high expectations from Rapalje and, with high expectations, comes a greater possibility of a fall. Putting this CD into the player for the first time was always going to be scary… just in case. However, as always, they’ve put out a great selection of folk style music that’s both authentic sounding yet with their own signature sound. Brilliant as always.
If you would like to find out more about Rapalje then you can visit their website, where you can also order this CD. I’m not sure if you can get it on the UK Amazon but I think you can, and it will probably trickle through to iTunes soon.
(*) Anyone who knows me in real life will be thinking how I play Christmas songs all year round anyway. Talking of which, it’s October now so we can certainly start getting excited, right?

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