Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Absolutely Irish

Absolutely Irish

One of the things about how a session works is that tunes are rarely played the same way twice, or song verses or choruses sung exactly the same way. Makes sense, when you think about it, as there is more than one musician in the room (classical musicians may throw flames now if they wish...dodging). Both those points make recording of music played as sessions problematic at times. A recording of anything is a snapshot, and things at a session move both quickly and with subtlety. There’s also a lot of connection expressed through music which goes beyond the notes. All that said, the musicians and the engineers and producers of the CD Absolutely Irish get at the substance of all this and present the music so crisply and clearly you’d think you were in the room. This is helped along by the top class musicians who are playing, many of whom have worked together in varied connections over the years in the swirling scene of Irish and Irish American music centered in New York City.

There are fifteen tracks, some sets of tunes, some songs. It’s a varied lot. A standout among the tunes is a set which includes Before the Storm, The Black Rogue, The Lass of Ballantrae, and The (Other) High Reel, jigs and reels that say much about the history of Ireland without saying a word. The players of that are fiddler Liz Carroll, guitarist John Doyle, and flute player Joanie Madden. The level of talent in the other players on the recording is equally high. Among them are singers Karan Casey, Robbie O’Connell, and Susan McKeown, fiddler Athena Tergis, keyboard player Brendan Dolan, box player Billy McComiskey, and fiddler Eileen Ivers. If you are familiar with Irish music you’ll know their names and their work. If you’ve yet to meet all of them, this recording is a fine place to start. All join together to good effect in the closing song, The Leaving of Liverpool, drawing the strands of the music together. The liner notes contain information about each musician and their other recordings, so you may easily follow what interests you most.

you may also want to see

Athena Tergis : Letter Home

John Doyle: Wayward Son

Liz Carroll & John Doyle: Double Play

Voices: Joanie Madden of Cherish the Ladies

karan casey: beat of my heart video

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posted by Kerry Dexter at


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