Reviews - Sarah Copus "Moorland Winds"

Breathtakingly blissful – by Wouter Kellerman, Grammy® Winner 2015 

The musical fabric of this magical masterpiece is interwoven from a wide range of styles and genres from traditional Irish, folk and alternative pop to harp-inspired favourites from England and the Hebrides. What struck me most is the creative production which includes very clever usage of various instrumentations and the unbelievable, unreal and angelic vocal performance from Sarah. Undeniably one of the voices of her generation!!! The breath-taking cover of Sting’s “Fields of Gold” is beautifully executed, as are the ethereal “Foggy Dew” and “Walking In the Air”.

By Bill Binkelman, Zone Music Reporter

 In reviewing Sarah Copus’ breakthrough album Moorland Winds, I could be subtle and write “a budding artist emerges,” but instead, I think I’ll go full tilt fan-boy and scream “A STAR IS BORN!” This superb recording features an assortment of Celtic vocal and instrumental tunes would be an ace in the hole in any artist’s discography. However, when one realizes that Sarah isn’t even 18 years old, one can only be astonished. Of course, she has been performing and recording with her folks, Pamela and Randy Copus (as 2002) for seven years, which in and of itself is also remarkable). Mom Pamela sits in on the album on whistle and father Randy on guitar, and the other guest artists include Nathan Kennedy on fiddle, Rick Holt on bodhran, and James Song on violin (on one track). All of these fine musicians contribute mightily to the quality of music on the album. However, this is truly Sarah’s coming out party as she handles all the vocals and harp. The songs are a mixture of vocal pieces featuring Sarah’s haunting, delicate singing and both uptempo instrumentals, i.e. jigs, reels, hornpipes, as well as some serene ones, i.e. airs. Other than her cover of Sting’s “Fields of Gold,” (which is given a soft amber-glow tinted with tender regret), all the songs are decidedly Celtic, many being traditional pieces, such as the opening “Wind on the Moor” or the closing “She Moved Through the Fair.” Sarah also composed a song, “Buttercup Spree” which segues into two traditional jigs (if you are unfamiliar with Celtic/Irish music recordings, many tracks actually contain two or three songs separated in the track title by a slash, e.g. the one I just mentioned which is “Buttercup Spree/Garrett Barry’s Jig/Clare Jig.” 

Instead of the variance between moods and tempos causing a lack of cohesion, the opposite is true (and this is frequently the case with Irish/Celtic music recordings, to be honest). Moorland Winds is an excellent addition to the genre and any fan of this music should fall in love with the album. Yes, Sarah’s voice is still “growing” of course, meaning that as she gets older, she will likely develop more “pipes,” meaning she will be able to have a fuller voice, but she already has wonderful pitch, nuance, tone, and she sings with a maturity that is way beyond her years. Her harp playing talent is also staggeringly accomplished for someone her age. Throw in that she adroitly sings in both English and Celtic/Gaelic and, well, can you see why I say a star is born? 

I could go on and on and detail some of my favorite tracks but that would merely polish the diamond. Sarah Copus is shining brightly on Moorland Winds (as she did on the most recent 2002 recording, Celtic Fairy Lullaby) and I fully expect that her light will only grow brighter and more resplendent with time. Which leads me to stating with no small measure of confidence that Sarah may become the next “big thing” in Celtic music. After all, the grand dames (and you know of whom I speak) in that genre must eventually give way to younger, more vibrant talent, right? Who better to assume the pinnacle/throne than this ultra-talented budding beauty? Aye, lads and lassies, the future is indeed bright for this young woman. And we will all be the better for it. 

By Tony Lawless, Tradconnect 

The future is bright for Sarah Copus on her debut album Moorland Winds 

Sarah Copus was just 10 years old when she performed solo for the first time, singing and playing harp. Now after hundreds of performances, at the age of 13, Sarah is releasing a solo album of her favourite music called Moorland Winds.  When asked about the tracks she chose for the album, Sarah said: “Some of these pieces are simply classics. Some are very old, perhaps even ancient. I love performing them so much that I wanted to make sure they would be around for a long time to come.”  

Sarah is an award-winning and Billboard charting singer/songwriter who lives in the Dallas/Ft Worth area. She has been performing and recording for over 7 years with her parent's platinum selling progressive new age band, 2002, and more recently as a solo artist. As an artist under the age of 18, she has had some extraordinary success: two albums hit the Billboard Charts that feature her as lead singer, radio airplay across hundreds of stations worldwide, and a Best Vocal Album award from the Zone Music Reporter Awards Show in 2015. Her most recent recording was with 2002 on Celtic Fairy Lullaby which we launched on Tradconnect in March 2016.  

This is a track from Moorland Winds called 'Wind on the Moor', an ancient folk song from the Hebrides played on Celtic harp and sung in both English and Scottish Gaelic. 

Sarah has been a student of the North Texas School of Irish Music for over 5 years and during that time has learned a lot, explored Irish and Scottish music  and has travelled to Ireland as part of the school’s annual student exchange programme. North Texas School is very active when it comes to traditional music and has played a big part in Sarah’s early musical life. Combining this experience with her recording and performance work with 2002 has been a life-changing adventure. 

In a recent discussion with Sarah’s mother Pamela Copus, she explained the background to this solo recording: “The reason for Moorland Winds, is that Sarah (being a harpist) gets lots of requests to perform, not just at weddings, but senior centers, libraries, restaurants, and of course, any Celtic-type festival or pub. She did 160 performances during the 2014 - 2016 period, not just solo harp, but with quite a few other bands. She was getting constant requests for a CD featuring the exact music from the performances. So she gathered up the set lists, picked out her favourites and invited some of the other musicians she had performed with to create the product that was in so much demand.”  

“On a personal note, as parents, it’s a time-capsule for us. So was Celtic Fairy Lullaby.  When we recorded Celtic Fairy Lullaby, Sarah had been singing in a Gaelic youth chorus for years. We knew those days would eventually end and we very much wanted to capture those songs. But it became more than just a memento for us of that magic time in Sarah’s life. It became a rather nice album and has been well-received.”  

"Moorland Winds is a new time capsule.  Sarah has grown immensely as a vocalist, musician and arranger. She has some serious skills in the recording studio. Her voice has matured. You know, most parents make 'scrapbooks' with all the photos and bits and pieces of memories and important events in their children’s lives. I guess we make albums instead. You know Sarah was only 5 years old when she recorded backing vocals on Yeshua. That song eventually wound up on our album Believe. As the years have passed, her contributions have grown considerably.  The future of 2002 is very bright. We are all so excited with all of the things we can do now as 3 people. (Plus we are super-excited to have a violin/fiddle in the band!).”

By Gail Roberts – Céili Magazine July – August 2017  

Sarah Copus is a local treasure, only 13 years old but with a resume many adult musicians would envy. She has had two albums hit the Billboard Charts and won Best Vocal Album Award from Zone Music Reporter Awards Show in 2015. Just this year, Sarah was a featured performer at the 2017 North Texas Irish Festival and has performed with internationally acclaimed groups such as Celtic Woman, The Irish Tenors and Celtic Thunder. Her musical skills include singing and playing the harp, violin, piano and ukulele.  

Moorland Winds is her latest release and it is stunning in its beauty and polish. It’s a perfect showcase for both her talent as a harpist and her lovely singing voice. On several songs, she performs in both Gaelic and English, bringing an authenticity to traditional Irish tunes.  

Beginning with the haunting Wind on the Moor, the ethereal melody of the harp transports the listener to a windswept moor, borne by her angelic rendition of Gaelic song of longing. The sweet sadness of remembering long ago love also comes through softly in her rendition of Fields of Gold.  

Gleanntáin Ghlas’ Ghaoth Dobhair was made for Sarah’s haunting harp and delicate Gaelic voice. It really showcases her mastery of the instrument, conveying much emotion in her song. Lest you think this album is all delicacy and lightness, she captures the traditional spirit of festive dancing in Rights of Man/Off to California and Merrily Kiss the Quaker/The Mist Covered Mountain, as well as several other traditional songs.  

Her arrangement of the classic Foggy Dew was not the usual aggressive almost martial sound one usually hears, but a thoughtful, melancholy lament of lost youth and lives given in search of freedom.  

One of my favorites on this album was Walking in the Air. It’s mystical and magical and so exquisite. I could listen to this song over and over. Close your eyes, listen and you will be walking in the air and floating in the midnight sky along with Sarah.  

For the ultimate enjoyment of the nuances and delicacy that a talented harpist can achieve, the haunting beauty of Dawning of the Day makes me appreciate the emotional impact of the instrument that is the ultimate symbol of Ireland – the harp.  

The sound mixing in this album was pitch perfect and her arrangements suited both her voice and her instrument. It’s an excellent production and a pleasure to listen to.  

Sarah’s skill at such a young age makes me excited to think of what a wonderful future she has ahead of herself making music. I look for her to be a Headliner at the North Texas Irish Festival in not too many years! 

By Roman C. Guzman - KRVR, The River  

Moorland Winds quickly became my family's favorite CD shortly after it's first play. My wife keeps taking my copy, my daughter listens to it when she goes to bed I will have it on just about all the time. Absolutely beautiful music from beginning to end. It's very nice that Sarah Copus is such a talented young lady but, for me, all that really matters is the music. Does it move me, does it get inside me, does it take me on a journey.... Moorland Winds does that and more. Sarah Copus was clearly born to play.  

By R J Lannan, ZMR  

Moorland Winds is the marriage of music and magic brought about by the creativity of talented harpist and extraordinary vocalist Sarah Copus. Celtic, Irish Traditional, and pop favorites are woven into a fabric of strong musical textures, ethereal vocals and masterful instrumentation. In no time at all, every one will be a favorite. Highly recommended.