Michael McGoldrick: Aurora
leading with his his wooden flute and uillean pipes a journey which is grounded in Irish tradition and travels out into jazz, Americana, African rhythms, and touches of other Celtic lands as well. Much of the music is original, with a few well chosen bits of trad and contemporary work. More so that in his recent solo outings, the Irish strand of things is very central to the sound. This is music which fits in with that tradition and is at the same time of the present day.
The whole album -- a dozen sets -- unfolds with a sense of journey and travel, one which is open enough for listeners to map their own roads with it. Freefalling is the name of the opening set, and the first tune on it is named You Go First, which, McGoldrick writes in the notes, was inspired by doing a bunjee jump in New Zealand. The Late Nights at the Central set had its start in a different if equally energetic place, late night sessions on the Old Central Hotel in Glasgow during the Celtic Connections Festival. There are very fine quieter tunes, as well, among them Anam Cara and the traditional The Stone of Destiny.
The Corrieveckan set, from Donald Shaw, who produced this album and with whom McGoldrick plays in the Scotland based band Capercaillie, is one of the contemporary covers. as is Waterbound, by American Dirk Powell. McGoldrick sings on Waterbound, in a sandpaper and silk pairing with guest vocalist Heidi Talbot and with a fine turn on the fiddle from John McCusker. Others supporting McGoldrick here include longtime musical friends Dezi Donnelly and John Joe Kelly along with Anna Massie, Signy Jakobsdottir, Dermot Byrne and others.
McGoldrick himself is in demand as a guest artist, having worked on recordings by Youssou N’Dour, Kate Rusby, Mairéad Ni Mhaonaigh, Karan Casey, and Cathie Ryan among others. His contributions to their projects are always worth hearing.
As Michael McGoldrick plays own music out front on Aurora, though, it sounds as though he is taking a journey -- and as though he’s coming home.
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