An Album In One Evening

Originally we went into the studio to cut two short tracks for radio airplay in order to promote an upcoming concert. It was a remote possibility that we'd have enough tracks for an album, but if we did, I'd do a home job on it so that the audience could have something to take home with them. We were booked from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m., we finished at 12:30, with the material presented here. We recorded live, no overdubs. Most songs were 2nd or 3rd takes. "Baa Baa Blacksheep..." and " The Last few minutes..." were first takes. Next night, while mixing the album, Al smiled and said, "One album in one evening", hence the title of the album.

After calculating costs of doing 100 CDs at home it seemed more practical and cost-effective to get 500 done professionally. An alternative would have been to wait and do another recording, take more time with the project, but I felt that something special has been taking place, and in aiming to be more professional the spirit of the moment might be lost. After all, Cliodhna had not even met the rest of the band members (beside me) prior to this recording, we've only had two concerts and no more than ten rehearsals since the conception of this project, and I have never been to a recording studio in my life, let alone trying to mix or master. What followed was a decision to honour the band, individually and as a group, and respect the spirit of the moment. Estimated time of production, from entering studio to collecting finished CDs: 16 days – it ended up being 14 days.

The Tracks

  1. Neptune Rising 9:38
  2. Praying For Your Enemy 4:58
  3. Auff Auff 7:12
  4. When Ghada Calls 8:54
  5. Baa Baa Blacksheep At The Checkpoint 5:33
  6. The Arabuse of Boutrous El-Moore 7:44
  7. The Last few Minutes before a Goodbye 6:26
  8. Neptune Rising (radio version) 3:53

Total playing time: 65:55

Neptune Rising

The title refers to the process of inspiration coming into form, spirit coming into matter... it is the first tune that came out for this project, the first star of the night...

Praying For Your Enemy

Watching news of wars being planned and the subsequent destructions that follow has been a very polluting experience for many. Over time I saw myself slipping into the same thing that has repulsed me in the first place; hate. From various spiritual disciplines, it dawned on me to pray for what I don’t like. You may end up killing somebody if you’re trying to defend yourself and your family, or you may die in the process – either way, the effort is not to fester in hate, but to re-centre to a place of compassion. It is a constant effort.

Auff Auff

“Auff” is the sound of a sigh in Arabic. The sound of the breath. There’s a million ways to sigh; “Auff... Auff..., this world is so rough”, “Auff Auff on you, you’re cute but you’re a trouble maker”, “Auff Auff, this beauty is so intoxicating”,...

When Ghada Calls

This was written in gratitude to my aunt who phones from Lebanon whenever I am going to rough times. At our first concert I rang her, the audience said “HI”, and we played the tune for her. I promised the audience that we’d return the favour in our upcoming concerts; a member of the audience would come up and ring a loved on anywhere in the world.

Baa Baa Blacksheep At The Checkpoint

This is the story of Baa Baa Blacksheep who grew up and wanted to discover the world. In his early twenties he drove a lorry full of cotton through the Middle East, unaware that a civil war had just broken out he reached Lebanon in the mid-seventies. He was stopped at a random checkpoint and asked whether he was carrying any wool and innocently responded, “Yes sir, yes sir, three bags full”. No answer would have been right. He was captured, tortured, and as the war become complicated and the various parties split on themselves he was moved from one dungeon to another. Eventually, ten years later, he escaped as a jumper. Since then he has sought every form of treatment, from the spiritual, to the psychological, to the freedom of occasionally being a complete silly billy. He has integrated and ascended his pain, and today, he tries to reach every person whose innocence has been disfigured through growing up in a civil war, or any person who as a child has been heard of unfathomable atrocities by humans to one another – which is just about every person in this world.

The Arabuse Of Boutros El-Moore

This is a Heavy Metal Arabic Blues song written in honour of Peter Moore (Arabic equivalent: Boutrous El-Moore); the nuttiest, most intuitive, maximum inspiring, big-hearted band leader in the Milky Way. Catch him around Dublin on Sunday nights doing his Blues thing (at time of making this CD he has been appearing in Mezzanine Bar, Temple Bar, on Sunday nights, and J.J. Smyth on Wednesday nights).

The Last Few Minutes Before A Goodbye

It’s those few minutes before saying goodbye to your loved ones, nothing to be said, surreal hazy moments you’ve gotten used, you don’t want to let a tear fall for fear that it might split the floor in half. May this tune soothe your heart, whether you’ll be seeing your loved ones tomorrow, or whether you’re an asylum seeker who’s not sure whether you’ll ever see them again.

All tunes, arrangements, and production, by Sami Moukaddem, except “Baa Baa Blacksheep”, which is traditional, with melody altered to fit an Arabic scale.