Listening to AVA’s debut album “Wildflower” for the first time feels like opening a treasure chest and somehow knowing what is inside, as if by magic. From the moment AVA starts singing, fans of Enya and Loreena McKennitt will experience powerful déjà vu moments. “Wildflower” is a deeply personal, engaging, and surprisingly well-made album that any of the before mentioned artists would have been proud to call their own. Let there be no doubt: AVA is a New Age music superstar in the making!
AVA is the name under which Irish singer/songwriter Éabha McMahon presents her solo work (the phonetical spelling of Éabha). Éabha has already garnered world attention for her outstanding unique voice, firstly as part of Anúna, the internationally renowned Irish Choral group, and then recording and touring with the globally successful Irish music collective Celtic Woman with whom she received her first Grammy nomination. Brought up steeped in the Irish language and trained in the Irish traditional style of singing, known as Sean Nos, her debut album sees Éabha continuing that centuries-old Irish tradition of storytelling through song.
Rhythm Of Earth
“Wildflower” takes off from the very first drumbeat. AVA greets us with her warm, whispery voice as if this is a secret between us. “Rhythm Of Earth” is a song about a moment of perfect harmony and a deep sense of belonging. I’m very impressed with the song’s unpretentious nature; the larger-than-life atmosphere has a surprisingly personal touch – which arguably made Enya into a superstar with “The Celts” (1987). The arrangement is sublime; it is just there, while all attention is on AVA and the song’s emotional richness. One word: Phenomenal!
Next out is the album’s first single, “Wildflowers”. It is one of those songs that are hard to explain. You just have to experience it, much like “Caribbean blue” or “The Mummers’ Dance”. About the song, Ava says: “As a child, my grandmother would show me dried flowers that were delicately kept between two sheets of paper in an old book. They were so beautiful. Her mother would tell her the story of the wildflowers and how they ended up in this book. To me, the flowers represent the passing of time, the beauty of nature, and the love between mother and daughter.” It is a masterpiece, pure and simple. But don’t take my word for it. Check it out yourself:
Call My Name
After such a magnificent display of creativity, one would think that the next track would be quiet and reflective. But AVA has so much on her heart that there is simply no time for that. “Call My Name” is a song about being there for the ones you love (which is a recurring theme on the album). It is a jewel, a true feel-good piece with a nice rhythm. It is dedicated to AVA’s father. She writes: “I have always felt that no matter what my Dad is right there by my side guiding me, encouraging me, reminding me and everyone he meets that we are never alone.” “Heartbeats” continues where “Call My Name” left off, showing the importance of unity and equality in a world torn by fear and discrimination.
“Seas Suas” is in the Irish language. It is a song about being far away from your family, yet knowing that they are there in your heart, every step on the way. The next part of the album is more reflective, dealing with dreams, vulnerability, and the importance of home.
On “Native Call” we are back in the wilderness; It is a song dedicated to Mother Nature. I love the build-up and feel-good atmosphere, making the listener sense a deep and meaningful native call. “Tell Me Now” yet again reminds us of the value of family, even when apart.
Nearer the end, “Runaway” gives a taste of unrestrained freedom, before “Loud” inspire us to fight for the environment. “The lyrics were written in Australia when the sky above me was filled with smoke and the smell of burning lingered for weeks,” writes AVA”. “It broke my heart to see the earth literally burning in front of me, and it inspired me to write a song that might urge people to take care of the world that we live in.”
In conclusion: It is fascinating how wildflowers may serve as a symbol of every song on AVA’s debut album. There is an untamed, resilient and, most importantly, incredible beauty here that leaves the listener breathless. I especially enjoy the songs’ personal nature and how the music greets the listener like an old friend. “Wildflower” is easily one of 2021’s finest New Age music releases, and AVA has the potential to become one of this genre’s greatest artists. Her expression is not unique, but with Enya and Loreena McKennitt close to retirement, it goes without saying that the world soon will be on the lookout for something new – and AVA is the real deal. An album filled with slightly longer songs, where a few are on par with “Wildflowers”, plus an instrumental or two, and the world will be hers.
For more information and music samples, visit avaworldmusic.com