Thomas Johnston and Deirdre Forrest of Beannacht
Beannacht, the folk duo consisting of Thomas Johnston and Deirdre Forrest, has enjoyed quite a run since having their debut album Gra Na Firinne make its way in the Irish Voice’s “best of” list.

Their local music community has taken notice as well.  Beannacht was nominated for six Jersey Acoustic Music Awards in Asbury Park. They supported Liam Ó Maonlaí on Friday night in Spring Lake Heights and they chose this high-profile gig to take risks.

Apart from playing tracks from their album, they chose to debut some new songs that show the band going in exciting musical directions. On “The Coming of An Gorta Mor,” Deirdre Forrest’s bluesy howl recounts the horrors of the Great Hunger as Thomas Johnston pounds a mournful beat on the bodhran.

“I hold a black horror in my hand.  Death is spreading across this land/Doesn’t God hear our people cry? Doesn’t God see our people die?/Our little island at death’s door,” she sang.

The duo will be entering a studio later in the spring to unplug the backlog of creative ideas that have built up in the last few months. If this song is any indication, they’ll probably make another appearance on our “best-of” list before long!

Beannacht and 'End this Way':