Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Ireland's music: harp & accordion

The harp: its stately elegance is is often thought of in connection with orchestras. The button accordion: the small lively button box is often thought of as anchoring sessions down at the pub, or accompanying the beat of step dancers’ feet. True, harps and accordiona are found at home in all those places. What happens when you put them together, though?

A wonderful confluence of creative and engaging music, as it happens. Floriane Blancke -- she’s the harpist -- and Dermot Byrne -- he plays accordion -- decided to do just that. Their differing backgrounds add to the ideas they bring to the music they create, too

click on the album cover to learn more about the recording

Blancke, who was born in Paris, has Hungarian gypsy jazz and classical music among her family influences, and studied classical music for ten years. In 2006, she moved to Ireland and has become part of the Irish music scene Byrne is from Buncrana in the north of Donegal in Ireland, where Irish traditional music, especially the fiddle music of that area of northwest Ireland, formed a part of his day to day life as he was learning his instrument.

The music they make draws in Irish tradition. Their original music and their arrangements of traditional pieces stir in these additional flavours as well, and the creative sounds their instrument make together. I was fortunate to be present at a concert the duo gave at the Celtic Connections Festival at the National Piping Centre in Glasgow. Should you have the chance to see Blancke and Byrne play live, take it. Meanwhile they have released a self titled album, well worth you time.

You may get a taste of their music and backgrounds in this video.

Photograph is by Kerry Dexter. It was made at the Celtic Connections Festival, with the permission of the artists, the venue, and the festival, and is copyrighted. Thank you for respecting this.

You may also wish to see
music of Donegal: Altan: The Poison Glen -Gleann Nimhe
holiday gift list: Irish music
Dermot Byrne and Floriane Blancke's web site

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Anonymous Sheryl said...

I absolutely love the harp and have often regretted never having tried to play it. But, it's not exactly a portable instrument...now is it?

1:58 PM  
Blogger Kerry Dexter said...

it's never too late to give the harp a go. there are smaller ones than the one you see here, if that's an issue...I think you'd have fun with trying one out!

6:42 PM  

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