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While some voices call for walls of division, acoustic duo Noctambule call for bridges of compassion for migrants, refugees, vagabonds, and others caught in life-altering transitions.

Bruce and Marla of Noctambule sing for the voiceless - photo by Alli Novak
Bruce and Marla of Noctambule sing for the voiceless. Photograph: Alli Novak

On Sunday August 15, Noctambule – Marla Fibish and Bruce Victor – will perform three online one-hour concerts reflecting the theme of their latest album 'Every Migrant Is My Fellow'. Noctambule’s event will raise funds for the International Rescue Committee, who help lives shattered by conflict and disaster. 

Bruce and Marla – who have been regular contributors to Newry's Iúr Cinn Fleadh – will also donate half the proceeds of August pre-orders of ‘Every Migrant Is My Fellow’ to the IRC. ‘The music on the album depicts lives in transition – exiles forced to leave their ancestral homes, wanderers, outcasts and dreamers, often alongside nature’s migrating creatures,' said the couple. Streamed on Facebook, the gigs will comprise a ‘brunch set’ from 11.30-12.30, ‘tea set’ from 4.30-5.30 and ‘soiree’ from 7.30-8.30 (Pacific Daylight Time). Locally you can listen in live from 7.30 - 8.30pm, 12.30am - 1.30am Monday 16 August and 3.30am-4.30am Monday 16 August at

It was a magical little book of obscure 19th century poetry that provided the catalyst for Noctambule’s new recording. About 30 years ago, Marla stumbled upon ‘Songs From Vagabondia’ by Bliss Carman and Richard Hovey in a secondhand bookshop. She loved the joyous poetic portrayals of a spirited life lived to the fullest in the natural world.

Years later, she shared the book with Bruce. It made such an impact on the couple, they set many of the poems to music, some of which are included in this release. Events of recent years – with heart-breaking increases in displaced individuals and cultures – inspired the couple to embark on this musical exploration of ‘Vagabondia’.

‘There are two themes,’ said Marla. ‘One is the Vagabondia poetry, and the other is the idea of separation – people separated in various ways from something, someone or somewhere they love.’

Said Bruce, ‘Vagabondia is a metaphor for the human condition. We’re all travelling through literal and metaphorical lands without a reliable map’.

Noctambule play traditional and original music in a variety of forms – traditional Irish tunes and songs, their own tunes written in traditional forms, and compelling musical settings of a broad array of poetry. This unique collaboration brings out qualities in both of these seasoned musicians.

Their music is rendered with lush beauty, sensitivity and humour on an unusual array of strings – various guitars in varied tunings, mandola, mandolin, bouzouki, cittern, tenor guitar – and their blended voices. They take the name Noctambule, French for 'night-owl,’ from a Robert Service poem about a nocturnal ramble through the back alleys of Paris, which they set to music and included on their first CD together, 'Travel In The Shadows'.

Marla is regarded as a leading teacher of the mandolin in the context of Irish traditional music internationally – and her own solo album 'The Bright Hollow Fog' was greeted with rave reviews across Ireland and America. Bruce is a former Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the University of California at San Francisco Medical School, writes a blog titled 'Call The Musician' and will be a visiting scholar at Cambridge University this autumn, in the area of music and social healing. 

For more information visit WWW.NOCTAMBULEMUSIC.COM

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