Issue 27 02/2004

FolkWorld CD ReviewsDog

Cyril O'Donoghue "Nothing but a Child"
Label: own; Distribution:;; CD 001 COD; 2003; Playing time: 68.28 min
Cyril O'Donoghue is very well known among those who are familiar with traditional Irish music in Clare. In decades until now his bouzouki has been a constant presence, as an 'accompanist', at the sessions in the area. I heard a fiddler saying, 'Playing with Cyril makes me feel like I'm carried on his shoulders': indeed, his rich rhythmical pulse and wise harmony is a perfect sustain for a solo player. In this role, Cyril appears with some of the best Clare musicians in many recordings (some of them excellent, including an authentic milestone like 'Setting Free' with Tola Custy). It's no secret, though, that Cyril is a fine and sensitive singer too. Yet, until yesterday, his recorded appearances as a singer had been confined to the ones of the accompanist, who sings a couple of songs to enrich an instrumental album. Now we have a well deserved album entirely dedicated to the singing Cyril, a joyous Christmas present for all those who have appreciated his songs all this time and longed for more.
Cyril O' Donoghue comes from a family well rooted in Irish traditional music, and as we said before, he has been playing himself for decades. So he is in no need to demonstrate anything; he's ever felt free to sing simply the songs that he loves, including contemporary songs and even not Irish ones. His voice is high-pitched and harsh, powerful in its way and dramatic; and, by the way, always perfectly in tune. And when he comes to traditional classics, he often adds his own variations to the melody or the structure, simply the way it most inspires him. (Tell me another singer who would dare to perform 'The Wild Rover' when he's not in a tourist pub among drunk enthusiasts craving for some clapping: well, I heard Cyril singing his own version of it, maybe disappointing for clappers, but giving back to the song its original dimension).
This album includes seven traditional songs: 'A Blacksmith Courted Me', 'The Night Visit', 'The Scariff Martyrs', 'The Bonny Light Horseman', 'The Newlyn Highwayman', 'The Recruited Collier', and Robert Burn's 'Ae Fond Kiss' (all right, for this last one the term 'traditional' is highly disputable); and four contemporary ones, 'The Foxy Devil', the American 'Slow Moving Freight Train', the title track 'Nothing but a Child', 'The Fiddle and the Bow', plus one beautiful waltz composed by Cyril himself for his granddaughter Aoibhinn, who stands boldly at his side on the cover and to whom the whole album is dedicated.
One of the most interesting things in the album is that Cyril can sing old songs like they were contemporary ones; not in the sense that he 'modernises ' them, but bringing naturally in evidence what he feels is the life in them; what makes them speak to us still today, although they were written so long ago. Let's say, simply, that Cyril - discretely but distinctively - sings in his own way all the songs he loves. Coherently he can sing modern songs with all the wisdom and depth of perspective we are used to find in traditional ones. The majority of the songs are arranged quite simply with piano, guitar or bouzouki, and one instrument or two in the background, in order to reserve to the voice the right evidence; but for a few of them the choice has been of a full orchestration, including choir, and the result is equally satisfying. As we could expect, the singer is joined in by a good bunch of the best musicians of the area, most of them companions in his musical life; among them Siobhan Peoples is credited for her relevant contribution to the musical part of the work.
This album is a witness of love for songs, and for the warm light that songs can give to people's life and experience.
Luigi Fazzo

Label: Ars Mundi; 2003; Playing time: 47.36 min
At the moment there are quite a few interesting young bands coming from Poland. If you are interested in young unconventional music from Europe you should open your eyes and look over to Poland...
Kontraburger is one of those band. Their first full CD (previously, they only had a very short demo CD) - directly made it into the FolkWorld top ten of 2003 (editors choice.) Their music is based on tradtional music from Poland and beyond, but all is composed by various members of the band. The texts are also all self written apart from fragments from J.R.R. Tolkien (Hobbit) and Ch. Baudelaire (Les Litanies de Satan). Their sound is very fresh.
The tunes often have quite a different approach and atmosphere, but the album forms nevertheless an attractive unit. The band's influences are of course roots music, but also jazz, rock, circus music and much more...
Kontraburger are eight musicians: Maga Górska (voc, classical guitar), Malgorzata Litwinowicz (flute, vocals), Sylwia Swiatkowska (fiddle, flute, vocals), Malgorzata Madejska (vocals), Jarek Kaczmarek (guitar), Wojciech Stasiak (guitar), Tomasz Zur (bass) and Janusz Kossakowski (percussion).
Kontraburger - this funny band name derives from a misunderstanding. Jarek Kaczmarek talked to an Italian friend in a mixture of Polish, Italian, French and Latin. "Kontraburger? You said 'Kontraburger'. What does that mean?" - "Kontraburger? - I haven't said that..." But the word was there - and now it is the name of a fascinating eightpiece band.
Their live performance is fascinating - but if you do not have the chance to see them life, why not try their album!
Homepage of the artist:, contact to artist:
Christian Moll

Kruzenshtern & Parohod "the craft of primitive klezmer"
Label: Auris Media; aum001; 2001; Playing time: 54.24 min
Wow - what a band! It is one of my personal favorites of 2003. Kruzenshtern & Parohod's music is so wonderfully weired, so unconventional and unique... But be careful - if you are not into very individual free music with long trance elements (for a long time repeating the same short hook line of music), fast and unexpected changes of music, bits of crying, shouting and toy elements in music - then better leave them alone. I know people who love this (like myself) and people who hate it....
The music of the trio is based on Klezmer music - but has much more unique elements (some would call them noise...). All music is written by band member Igor Krutogolov and the arrangements are made by the band. The band from Tel-Aviv consits of: Igor Krutogolov (bass, vocals, percussion, toys), Russel Gross (clarinet, toys, percussion, voice) and Yog Schechter (drums, toys, percussion, voice).
The music is based around the clarinet - it is sometimes quite unmelodious - but always fascinating, and it keeps me smiling...
I love them! Find out if you love - or if you hate them!
Contact to label:
Christian Moll

Fylgja "Strå"
Label: own; Fyl 002; 2003; Playing time: 47.26 min
'A window from Scandinavia to the world' and 'swinging Nordic Folk' - that are the terms how Fylgja describe themselves in their English press information. I think it is a quite appropriate description of this young band. Fylgja's music has a fresh and young approach; it is based on mostly Swedish (but also Norwegian, and, in the case of one number, Irish) tradition, but has lots of influences, and there are some selfcomposed numbers as well. You can find folk, Jazz, a bit of Classic, rock, avant garde, etc.
The band is based in Copenhagen, and features three Danes and two Swedes. The musical background of the band members is quite diverse - wich can be heard in Fylgja's music. Fylgja are Christian Coff (flute & melodica), Lucas Scheffold (guitar, vocals), Kerstin Backlin (violin), Helle Andersen (bass) and Mikkel Hornnes (drums and trumpet).
Strå is their second album, and consists of 11 tunes and one song (written by Lucas). Their music is somehow light - it is like a sunny summer's day in Scandinavia, where your thoughts can wander around and you can relax...
Definitly worth a listen. (Included in the FolkWorld CD top ten of 2003 - editors choice.)
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Christian Moll

Alamaailman Vasarat "Käärmelauakunta"
Label: Silence/Wolfgang Records; SLC014; 2003; Playing time: 44.47 min
If you are into dark heavy music from the north - Alamaailman Vasarat should be also your cup of tea. Their music is hard, often very dark (with only few sunny spells) and breathtaking.
This Finnish group consits of Jarno Sarkula (soprano & tenor saxes, bass clarinet), Tuuka Helminen (cello), Teemu Hänninen (drums & percussion), Miikka Huttunen (pump organ & grande piano), Erno Haukkala (trombone, slide trumpet & tuba) and Marko Manninen (cello). It is unbelievable that they don't have an e-guitar, ifyou listen to the intro of the first track...
So what are they playing: folk music? Not really. Rock music? - mmh. Heavy metal - well, jazz - ehmm, film music - a bit... It is not possible to pigeonhole their music. They have lots of influences, but are playing their own distinctive heavy nordic music.
Fascinating stuff! (Included in the FolkWorld CD top ten of 2003 - editors choice.)
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Christian Moll

(BUB) "Bubinca"
Label: Alea/Wildboarmusic; WBM21047; 2003; Playing time: 59.34 min
I have been enjoying innovativ music from Belgium for quite some time now, and so this is not the first time FolkWorld is talking about (BUB) (review of their debut album; short introduction in 1st Tilburg Folkfestival review). So I do not really need to mention that they are great and their music is an individual eclectic mix of styles based on Begian/ mostly Flemish traditions...
(BUB)'s head is Kim Delcour (bagpipe, recorder, piano, voice, banjo), he has composed most of the music and is also in live a focal person on stage. Then there are Winter Lavigne (guitar), Tim Somers (drums, percussion), Frank van Overstraeten (sopran & tenor saxes, guitar), Janspieter Delcour (bassguitar, hommel) and Pierre-Yves Berhin.
Their music is sometimes weired, often focused on bagpipes and brass instruments - it is highly individual, and some of the tunes are memorable enough to stay for hours in your head. Most of the music on Bubinca is instrumental - and they are really good at this. The one song (in English language) - I still have not made up my mind whether I like it or not... But maybe that is a question of mood.
Homepage of the artist:, contact to artist:;
Christian Moll

Ventu Novu "Dalla Terra dei Briganti"
Label: own; 2003; Playing time: 31.03 min
Ventu Novu hail from southern Italy and they intend to inspire also young people with their own traditions. So they do a bit of uplifting - and present music steeped in their traditions, yet very emotional and powerful. Apart from the last two numbers, all tunes are composed by members of the band, yet the origin of the music can clearly be heard, in particular the Tarantella...
The band consists today of 7 members: Pasquale Perrone (classical guitar, new member not on this album), Irene Cantisani (vocals, flute), Fabio Console on vocals, guitar, violin and mouth organ; Paolo Farace on vocals and guitar; Gianfranco Errico (bass, vocals); Armando Frangella (accordion) and finally the percussionist (including tammorre & tamburello) Luigi Sgamba.
For me the most fascinating thing was the the combination of southern Italian music with mouth organ. Very unusual, but it fits well!
A great energetic band with an excellent album - but why just half an hour long? Next time a bit more generous please...
Nevertheless - every minute is worth its money...
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Christian Moll

Gunnel Mauritzson "Raisu Äut"
Label: Xource; XouCD 138; 2003; Playing time: 60.47 min
Gunnel Mauritzson is a great folk and jazz singer from Sweden. She hails from the island of Gotland in the middle of the baltic sea, and her music describes the world from that perspective. The title of this album is in Gotland's dialect (the Swedish version is "Resan ut" - "The Journey Out").
Gunnel has formed her own band with three further band members: Hans Kennemark on violin and alto violin (member of Bäsk); the well known guitarist Roger Tallroth (Väsen) and pianist Rickard Aström (Groupa). On this album are also some guests: Jonas Knutsson (saxes), Kjell Nordeson (percussions) and several backgound singers.Also in live is this band exceptional - I have had the luck to see one of their shows last year in Germany - it is worth quite a distance to catch them...
The songs on this album have different origins, some are trad Swedish or from Gotland or written by Gunnel or some other songwriter. Gunnel says about this album: "All songs are in a sense about distance. They are also about searching and longing. I wanted the songs to be free, and able to travel as freely as they wanted to. Perhaps they have something to tell about passed times and times yet to come."
Good stuff.
Contact to label:
Christian Moll

Les Batinses "l' autre monde"
Label: Mille-Pattes; MPCD 3337; 2002; Playing time: 58.27 min
Canda is a big country with lots of diverse music cultures. And even if you just look at the music scene of the French speaking community you can find lots of different music. Les Batinses hail from Quebec, Quebec City to be exact. They have met at the local university in 1994 and formed a band.
These six young people present a highly energetic mix of French Canadian and some 'Celtic' traditions with lots of other music styles including rock, jazz, punk, hip hop, ska and funk. Their music is individual and full of diverse atmospheres. And during their live shows they are really hard working to entertain the audience.
The instruments include: guitars, organ, violin, saxes, bouzouki, feet, harmonica, drums, percussion, bass, didgeridoo. Les Banrinses will keep you on your feet...
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Christian Moll

Pavla Milcova "Appollo 14"
Label: BMG Czech Republic; 82876539272; 2003; Playing time: 45.11 min
If you want to listen to one of the most interesting sing-songwriters from the Czech Republic - go for Pavla Milcova. Pavla has her own style somewhere between roots music and Jazz - where maybe the jazz component is a bit stronger. Pavla sings mostly self written songs - either in Czech language (most of the material on this album) or in English. On Apollo 14, ten songs are written by Pavla, additionaly there are two folk songs and "It's a lovely day today" by Irving Berlin.
Apart from singing, Pavla plays kazoo. Then there is Stanko Paluch on violin and viola and her musical partner Peter Binder on all the other instruments, some of the music compositions and co arrangement and co production.
If you are into songwriting a bit off the beaten track- check Pavla out!
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Christian Moll

Tarantula Rubra presenta "Pizzica la Tarantula"
Label: Blond Records; ß6.2157089; 2001; Playing time: 56.42 min
If you once have experianced the power and energy of southern Italian tarantella music - you are surely haunted by it. Tarantula Rubra are an group of enthusiasts who wants to push 'Neotarantismo' to life and to a wider recognicion...
Pizzica la Tarantula is a compilation of 11 tunes of new Tarantella music. It is fascinationg to listen to the energy and vitality and trance that this band creates. If you listen to this you have to keep dancing through the night until you are alive again. There are 9 different groups on the album, some better known (at least in the scene) some totaly unknown: Lino Cannacacciuolo, Peppe Barra, Phaleg, Cantodiscanto, Arakne Medterranea, Quataumentata, Kunsertu and Canzoniere Grecanico Salention. Tarantula Rubra also formed a new group to present this music, the Tarantula Rubra ensemble - this is featured on 3 tracks of the album.
If you have never heard of this kind of southern Italian music - maybe you should start with this album...
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Christian Moll

Mascarimirì "Kadd€"
Label: Radio Popolare/Sensible Records; SSB 018; 2001; Playing time: 63.48 min
Mascarimirì "festa"

Label: ??received promo-CD for review??, 2004; Playing time: 66.13 min
If you want to hear a bit more modern tarantella and pizzica music - Mascarimiri are the right path to go. Their music is great - full of power, energy and passion for the living culture of the Salento region.
Mascarimiri are a quartet: Vito Giannone ( voice, tres, mandolin) - you can find more about his tamburellis and tamorres at:, Claudio "Cavallo" Giagnotti (voice, fiati, tamburella, cornice), Beppe Branca (e-bass, grancassa, cori) and Sandro "Moviala" Dell' Anna (percussion). About half of the songs are traditional - and if you are into pizzica & tarantella, you surely have heard the one or other of these. The other half is written by Claudio, in the same style. I like his kind of songwriting (even though I do not understand most of the texts, as I cannot speak Italian). Mercatu is great - you can feel the market day in town.
All in all an excellent album, I am looking forward to their next CD!!!
...And there it is already! Few days after writing the first review of the band Mascarimirì a follow up album was in my post box...
What can I tell you about "festa"? My copy of the CD is a promo copy without much information - so I cannot tell you much about the booklet or even on which label it will be published...
It seems that the rhythm section has changed, the two new band members are Antonio Melegari and Marco Santoro Verri, but this does not effect the sound of the band too much. It is straight forward energetic modern Tarantella music. I like their pure energy a lot.
Hopefully there will be a 'festa' of them soon in my region!
Homepage of the artist:, contact:;;
Christian Moll

Irish Life & Lore "The Mulcahy Family"
CD No : 63; 2003; Playing time: 61.02 min
Irish Life & Lore "Pecker Dunne (No.2)"
CD.94; 2002; Playing time: 65.08 min
This here is different and very special. So let me explain a thing or two what everything is about. Four years ago, Maurice O'Keeffe, antiquarian from Tralee, wondered about the great treasure of stories and memories that the older people of Ireland still possess. Maurice went out to the farms, mainly in counties Kerry and Clare, talked with the people, and assembled a collection of 120 CDs altogether. Each containg a one hour interview (a single track which is a bit unpractical). The shanachais Maurice met share memories of places and areas and railways, a legendary footballer and a matchmaker, Celtic myth, local belief and customs. There are also some musicians featured, e.g. sean-nos singer and dancer Gussie McMahon, concertina player Chris Droney, and the renowned accordionist Johnny O'Leary.
Maurice came down to the home of the Mulcahy Family in Abbeyfeale, Co. Limerick. This is the most northerly part of the musically famed Sliabh Luachra area, and the Mulcahy home is a house packed up with instruments and full of the craic. Pater familias Mick Mulcahy learned to play the accordion as a child, and has passed on the music to his daughters. Mick and his wife Cecilia not only talk about the music and related things, but practically demonstrate the jigs and reels, polkas, hornpipes, and a slow air too. Mick himself can be heard with the melodeon, concertina, and accordeon; his daughter Louise plays flute and the uilleann pipes, daughter Michelle plays the concertina, fiddle, and the harp. Both have won numerous competitions, and it was Mick Moloney (-> FW#24) who has expressed the view that Michelle may well become the finest traditional harpist Ireland has ever seen.
It's funny but browsing through my notebooks I recognise that I attended the Joe Cooley & Kieran Collins Traditional Music Festival in Gort way back in 1997. In O'Donnell's pub the band playing was - guess who - The Michael Mulcahy Family. -- One musician I never met was The Pecker Dunne (though I once knew a band in Muenster, Germany, who adopted his name as the group's name).
Stephen "Pecker" Dunne was born into a travelling family in 1933. He did busk at hurling and football matches and used to play his five string banjo with a thimble. Pecker came to national attention when he played a few concerts with the Dubliners (-> FW#23) in the early 1960's. Maurice paid a (second) visit to Pecker's house in Killimer, Co. Clare, after a recent recovery from illness to hear stories of life as a traveller and busker. Pecker is not only willing to talk, he plays fiddle and banjo, and sings his "Ballybunion by the Sea." He also plays some tunes with his 4 teenage children, Stephen (aged 16, playing the banjo), Tommie (14, pipes), Madeline (12, melodeon), and Sarah (11, concertina). I learn that the reel "Maid Behind the Car," a good old traveller's name, written by Pecker's friend Paddy Barry became "Kiss the Maid Behind the Bar" to put sex into it, but there is no sex in lovely traditional music. But there still is a chance to see Pecker. Once it's holiday time and the schools are closed, Pecker and his family are off again to busk all over the country.
Maurice O'Keeffe, 15 Princes Quay, Tralee, Co. Kerry, Ireland;;
Walkin' T:-)M

Colum Sands "The Note That Lingers On"
Label: Spring; SCD 1051; 2003; Playing time: 41.22 min
Just a few days after the CD launch, I had the chance to catch Colum Sands of the renowned Sands Family (-> FW#7, FW#9, FW#17, FW#22, FW#23) live & in colour in Monaghan Town. (Monaghan Folk club meets the last Thursday every month from September to May at the Market House; drop in, it's a nice venue.) Colum chatted about his travels near and far that took him from Belfast to Tel Aviv, and he sang his big hits and a couple of his new songs alike. Colum's songs are peopled with characters seemingly so fictional but no they are real. He remembers "Sweeney the Fiddler" from his school days in Newry: Frank loved to play the fiddle he knew that from the start, but the chemist's shop he ran as well, it nearly broke his heart. And when a tune came to his head, he'd take the fiddle down and customers 'above themselves' were soon brought to the ground. 'And of all the shops in Newry, did you have to come to mine? Can't you see I'm playing the fiddle and I haven't got the time for trying to read prescriptions, for ills you haven't got. And time will cure you anyway, sure the dogs in the street know that. Obviously you can still find these people (though one wonders sometimes when you're driving along a boreen and the Edi Irvines are behind you). Monaghan is just across the border of his base in County Down, Northern Ireland, and there's the political comment as well. "Skipping History Lessons" is the attempt, which failed by six seconds, to distil the official story of warfare into less than a minute. But Colum is charming and no agitator. Mind you, the magic of the music's in the note that lingers on and that made me write this when the music's fresh in the ear.
Colum Sands/Spring Records
Walkin' T:-)M

Matt & Shannon Heaton "Dearga"
Label: Eats Records; ESL CD 004; 2003; Playing time: 52.51 min
The Gaelic dearga means red or intense, and there is a certain glow as well in the latest offering from Shannon Heaton (flute, low whistle) and Matt Heaton (guitar), both members of the trio Siucra (-> FW#26). A mixed bag of traditional and original tunes makes an excellent flute/guitar album. Help comes by some friends, including Aoife Clancy with whom both worked for a few years. But Aoife isn't singing but only strumming the guitar. Regretable, because in the vocal compartment Matt and Shannon are not that muscular compared to their instrumental abilities (and compared to Siucra-singer Beth Leachman; by the way, I have just been to Knocknarea and Maeve's Grave in Co. Sligo about which Beth wrote and sang so fine). But this minor disappointment relates to the three songs only, the traditional Irish "Keeper of the Game," the reworked Scottish "Fair Jamie", and the original "Heartland." Otherwise, as I said before, it's of high quality.
Eats Records
Walkin' T:-)M

Harry Bradley, Jesse Smith & John Blake "The Tap Room Trio"
Label: Claddagh; SPINCD1007; 2003; Playing time: 43.35 min
Young guns at it again! Flutist Harry Bradley (-> FW#25), fiddler Jesse Smith (-> FW#25, FW#25), and John Blake on guitar and piano, a much sought-after accompanist in recent times (-> FW#23, FW#25). But young as they may be, the lads are hunting for a more ancient sound: The tune that gave the title, The Tap Room, was inspired by a 78 rpm disc featuring melodeon player P.J. Conlon and fiddler James Morrison. And actually all the tunes here are from the playing of Killoran, Coleman, Doherty, Morrison, the Flanagan Brothers and the like. With piano accompaniment on most of the tracks we get the feeling of the good old days of traditional Irish music. Like having an old Coleman recrding, but with a better sonic quality and no disturbing cracking. It's fine to see that the younger generation as well tries to reinvigorate their tradition by rediscovery of its past, implicitly rejecting any borderline experimentation with other musical genres and returning to the musical purity expressed by their illustrious predecessors. Furthermore, it's nice to discover that "My Aunt Jane"'s polka is nothing else than the Belfast children's song "I'll Tell Me Ma," and the highland "Music at the Gate" has been used by Percy French for "Phil the Fluther's Ball."
Claddagh Records
Walkin' T:-)M

Seamus Heaney & Liam O'Flynn "The Poet & The Piper"
Label: Claddagh; CCT21CD; 2003; Playing time: 58.25 min
When the Norman cleric Giraldus Cambrensis visited Ireland in 1185, he found the people barbarous, only music being of commendable diligence. 500 years later, English poet Edmund Spenser again praised the bards of this barbarous nation. Over the centuries, the Emerald Isle has produced an astonishing wealth of writers, from Amergin to W.B. Yeats. A literary caste flourished in Gaelic Ireland up to the final destruction of Gaelic society in the 17th century. The bard (filid) was sitting with the clan chief, and his poetry was chanted or sung by a reciter (reacaire) accompanied by a harper (cruit). Unfortunatly there is little evidence concerning the musical delivery. When the old harpers were re-discovered in the late 18th century, their repertoire consisted mainly of song airs, rather unlikely to provide dramatic accompaniment to bardic poetry. That's no criticism for the 21th century bards in question, just to point out the difference. In any case, it's pipes here anyway, no harp.
Seamus Heaney was born in 1939 in Castledawson, South Derry. His first collection of poetry was published in 1966 culminating in the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1995 for works of lyrical beauty and ethical depth, which exalt everyday miracles and the living past. (Christy Moore's "On The Mainland" denounced the BBC claiming Heaney's achievement as their own, the winner was a British poet, Seamus Heaney from Londonderry -> FW#3.) According to Eugene O'Brien the key aspects of Heaney's writing are aesthetics, politics, language, myth, ethics, identity and notions of Irishness. Seamus Heaney literally is digging deep into the boglands of Ireland, its history, Gaelic literature and the Irish psyche.
Liam O'Flynn (*1945 -> FW#5) hails from the townland of Kill in Co. Kildare (home of Fenian campaigner John Devoy who became a rebel at the age of nine after a teacher smashed a slate over his head when he refused to sing God Save the Queen). Liam's father played the fiddle and his mother was a cousin of Junior Crehan (-> FW#21). Liam learned the uilleann pipes from Leo Rowsome (-> FW#26) and struck close friendship with Seamus Ennis. He co-founded the legendary Planxty, the group being unique for mixing dance tunes with traditional ballads and contemporary songs. He also was probably the first piper to play with an orchestra. Though working with artists as diverse as John Cage, Kate Bush and Mark Knopfler, Liam always remained true to the great piping tradition.
Liam O'Flynn has performed with Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney since a decade. Heaney says, I have a strong sense of pleasure and pride in sitting beside a piper of Liam's mystery. The pipes call and raise the spirit. They also quieten and open up the daydream part of people. He reads 27 poems, including "Bogland" and "The Tollund Man," translations of Aodhagán Ó Rathaille's "Gile na Gile" and "An Bunnán Buí" (The Yellow Bittern) by Cathal Buí Mac Giolla Gunna (Yellow Charlie Gunn, 1680-1755). The story goes that Cathal was coming home from the pub one wintry day and found a dying yellow bittern by the shores of Lough MacNean. He did believe that the bird was dying because he could not drink from the lake and he took great pity since his own greatest concern was the want for the pure drop. Liam O'Flynn performs chiefly slow airs, occasionally supported by Rod McVey on harmonium and Stephen Cooney on guitar. It's modern poetry, yet at the same time it evokes archaic images. Since the sound of the pipes resembles the human voice as probably no other instrument does, it enhances the impression of the reading. We are back in time at the court of the Gaelic chieftain. Well, almost.
P.S.: Concerning Liam O'Flynn, Planxty has announced a series of Irish concerts for January and February 2004, featuring the original 1970's line-up (->
Claddagh Records
Walkin' T:-)M

Donald Lindsay "To the Drum of the Sea"
Label: REL Records; R2CD 2012; 2002; Playing time: 43.29 min
Donald Lindsay plays the Scottish pipes, mainly the Scottish smallpipes, the smaller and gentler sibling of the martial war pipes. This is the proper sound made for the compositions of Alex Muir, a retired minister, now living in Inverness. Muir composed slow airs, marches, Old Testament psalms, retreats, strathspeys, reels, jigs, hornpipes, the entire variety of pipe music. Unhurried tunes, chiefly at mid tempo. Some of Muir's tunes have been recorded before, and now by the holder of the only competition trophy for the Scottish Smallpipes, The Colin Ross Trophy. And Donald Lindsay performs and interpretates it well, with a style of his own. Additionally Donald wrote some words to "Duncansby Head," originally a bagpipe retreat, that echo sadness yet resilience in the face of a broken romance. His vocal delivery is far from broken. Donald is accompanied by Calasaig's (-> FW#19) Celine Donoghue (fiddle, see review below), Keith Easdale (cittern, whistle), and Stuart Glasgow (guitar). Worth to check out.
REL Records
Walkin' T:-)M

Celine Donoghue "Something Else"
Label: REL Records; R2CD 2006; 2003; Playing time: 44.00 min
Calasaig member Celine Donoghue (-> FW#19) was a finalist in the inaugural Young Scottish Traditional Musician of the Year competition and winner of the All Britain Fleadh for tenor banjo back in 2001. This year she toured with the 3 Scottish tenors, a well established lady on the trad circuit. In the liner notes of her debut solo album, Celine wrote: [Man Overboard] was penned whilst on the ferry going from Stranraer to Larne. Whilst we were having a session (musical!) in the bar. At the same time someone out on deck, decided to jump into the Irish Sea - naked! Barely twenty, Celine's everything but naked, well equipped with banjo and fiddle at least. The tunes are delicate and fiery. Furthermore two Burns songs, "Aye Waukin O" sung by Celine herself, and "Hey Ca' Thro'" given by Mick West and Kirsten Easdale. Further help comes from an illustrious line-up including Brian McNeill (concertina), Keith Easdale (uilleann pipes, whistles), Stevie Lawrence (hurdy-gurdy), Wendy Weatherby (cello), and a Russian folk ensemble (balilika, accordion). At least the latter makes a difference. But is it something else? Not really, but why being different when you're doing your thing and you're doing it right.
REL Records
Walkin' T:-)M

Whisky Trail "The Great Raid"
Label: Forrest Hill; FHME 34; 2002; Playing time: 92.32 min
According to Irish lore, the "Táin Bó Cúailnge" (Cattle Raid of Cooley) tells the deeds of the legendary warrior hero Cú Chulainn who defended Ulster and its famous brown bull Donn against Queen Maeve of Connacht and her white bull Findbenn. An epic tale that ends in wholesale slaughter (Lord of the Rings for beginners). The remains of the bulls are scattered all over Ireland, remembered best in placenames such as Bull's Back, Bull's Forehead, Horny Mountain, and last but not least Ford of the Loin (Ath Luain = Athlone). The place to be for Whisky Trail is not as easy to pigeon-hole. The Táin is not the only trail that the group follows, though the two sides of this double CD are named after Donn and Findbenn, respectively. The Italian quartet wanders on different tracks, folkloric stimuli, Irish and Scottish songs, a poem by Seamus Heaney (see above), and finishing off with the familiar "Auld Lang Syne" (whatever the reason).
The four are not the first Italians spelled by the magic of Irish music. Maybe one may look back to the Irish missionary and saint Columban (543-615) who made it to Bobbio writing songs all along the way. In the late 1950s Giula Lorimer and her husband from the U.S. backpacked Ireland, moreover doing amateur recordings of traditional music. The couple settled near Florence and founded the Gruppo Folk Internazionale, later renamed as Whisky Trail. "The Great Raid" is in fact the 8th album altogether, as the title says a great raid through the musical trail they traced in 25 years. Today the band consists of Giulia Lorimer (voc, fid), Vieri Bugli (fid, viol), Stefano Corsi (harp), Pietro Sabatini (guit, bouz, bodh), and guest Massimo Giuntini (uilleann pipes). Most tunes are original, call it suites. Like a lot of continental European outfits, they start with traditional and traditional-minded Celtic tunes and songs to spice it up with everything from classical features to jazz facets, so to create a unique sound of its own. Somebody wrote it should more properly be regarded as contemporary art music rather than folk or roots music. I agree.
Forrest Hill Records/Harmony Music
Walkin' T:-)M

More English CD Reviews: Page 2 - Page 3 - Page 4 - Page 5 - Page 6
More German CD Reviews: Page 1 - Page 2
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© The Mollis - Editors of FolkWorld; Published 02/2004

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