Photography by SD. McNally
‘Celtic Psalms‘, a new album by Kiran Young Wimberly featuring the voices of the McGrath family, is comprised of Biblical Psalms set to traditional Irish and Scottish melodies. Recorded in Belfast, ‘Celtic Psalms’ is intended not only for meditative listening but to encourage the use of traditional music in Christian worship, across community divides. A reflective and uplifting collection, ‘Celtic Psalms’ was produced by renowned multi-instrumentalist Dónal O’Connor of the respected Belfast band ‘At First Light’.
Kiran Young Wimberly is a Presbyterian minister who has been living in Belfast, Northern Ireland, for the past six and a half years. After serving in congregational ministry with the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, she began work with the Centre for Celtic Spirituality, an ecumenical nonprofit organisation that looks at Celtic Christian spirituality heritage as common inspiration for Protestants and Catholics. While working with international pilgrimage and study groups, Kiran pursued her keen interest in Irish/Scottish traditional song and its connection to spiritual life. Joining the Belfast Trad singing class and the Belfast Singing Circle, Kiran discovered a wealth of traditional airs and tunes from these lands. Over time, she put together a collection of melodies that she believes are particularly suited for use in worship, and paired them with the sacred words of the Psalms.
Upon completing the arrangements, Kiran asked the McGraths, a family from Dungannon, Co. Tyrone with a heavenly yet natural acoustic sound, to join her in recording these Psalms in a folk/traditional style that would be inspiring for personal listening and meaningful for worship settings. Kiran approached Dónal O’Connor, the highly sought-after producer and fiddle prodigy, to produce and contribute musically to the collection, and together they created an album with soaring Celtic melodies, rich harmonies, and traditional-style instrumentation – a soothing and refreshing version of the Psalms that is both impressive and accessible.
‘Celtic Psalms’ promises to be a long-standing resource for meditation and worship, with timeless wisdom grounded by ancient airs. With its delicate harmonies and instrumentation, this album evokes the Celtic landscapes of Ireland and Scotland with sincerity, integrity and tenderness, and offers a healing balm much needed in today’s world.