About 'Caoineadh na Maighdine'
“A very special recording for me: these traditional religious songs, the oldest on this planet many of which I was sounding or re-sounding again for the first time; the first dialogue with the monks of Glenstal Abbey; I was carrying my first child at the time of the actual recording; every song is a once-off recording, no doctoring, no splicing, no studio; the sound is the reverberation of the Glenstal Abbey church.
“I wrote down my feelings at that time:
‘The actual performance of these songs in Glenstal Abbey has meant more to me than just making the kind of record which normally marks one’s musical progress. Stereotyped studios, seas of microphones, time pressures and endless takes had no part in this recording. The absence of these opened up the possibility of making this the most personalised, humble, vulnerable outcry of the singer for whom each phrase of a song is a constant confession or expression of being in the presence of God.’
“For the twelve monks who sing with me, singing is a powerful medium of prayer inextricably bound up with their life-style. This has had an indelible influence on my own singing; none of these songs now will live for me as an isolated piece from the sound of God. Woman speaks strongly through the religious songs of Ireland. She comes alive and breathes forth an antithesis; sometimes overpoweringly Christian; sometimes dramatically pagan or pre-Christian; sometimes lulling the child of God to sleep within her life; sometimes bitterly and angrily questioning the right of that same God to claim her child. Such stark emotions have transformed my singing but also something deep within me which simply defies verbal expression.”