|Liam O'Flynn: The Given Note
Liam O'Flynn (uilleann pipes, whistle); Steve
Cooney (guitar, bass guitar, didgerido); Arty McGlynn (guitar); Rod
McVey (synth., organ, harmonium); Noel Eccles (percussion). 14 tracks,
62'55". Tara CD 3034.
key to quickly describing this album may simply be to
say that it is produced by Shaun Davey, composer of works such the
Seville Suite and Brendan Voyage, on which Liam O'Flynn
appears. Like those pieces, this CD has a big, almost orchestral sound.
It is lush and full of interesting texture but also not over-orchestrated
or over-produced. The melodies are almost all traditional but the
overall feel of this album is much more modern. My favorite cuts on
this, the slip jig O' Farrell's Welcome to Limerick and the
Phil Cunningham tune, Farewell to Govan, combine soaring
melodies with accompaniments that often feel both jazzy and lush as
well as a little other-worldly. This even carries over to an air from
Bunting (1792), An Speic Seoigheach. In general the reels
and jigs on this albums feel much older; some of the accompaniments
to them have almost medieval roots.
The energy on this album is high, but it is controlled and relaxed,
focused and lyrical. In the introduction to the excellent liner notes,
poet Seamus Heaney says, "There has always been a classical quality
about Liam O'Flynn's playing, a level confident strength: you feel
that he is unshakably part of a tradition. But there is something
up and away about his style, a sheer delight in his own personal impulse....
behind these tunes you hear freedom as well as discipline, elegy as
well as elation, a longing for solitude as well as a love of the seisiun." This
is both poetic and accurate.
The album is spiced with two Galician sets, with Milladoiro
members Nando Casal and Xos‚ Ferreir¢s, and both Andy Irvine and Paul
Brady make guest vocal appearances.
If you like a big lyrical sound and enjoy exploring the places where
the traditional begins to absorb the modern, this album is a "must