CD REVIEWS FOR FEBRUARY 2008
By CATHOLINE BUTLER
Dear Irish Boy
Belfast-born Damian Brennan is well-know to Lower Mainland audiences and has always has a strong following in whatever town he performs in. Like many Irish performers he has an engaging personality both on and off stage that helps brings his fans back for more time after time.
When Damian sings Irish songs, he knows what he's singing about. Encouraged by his teachers to pursue a musical career, Damian started with the tin whistle and was then mentored by the great Gogi McCullough (All Ireland Whistle Champion).
This excellent training shows every time Damian plays the tin whistle. He has the ability to take his audience to soulful lows and exuberant highs. Along with vocals, he also plays the guitar and bodhran.
Since teaming up with Sara Fitzpatrick, fiddle player extraordinaire and vocalist, this combination has added a new dimension and more depth to Damian's stage performances. Sara also plays guitar and is an accomplished vocalist. When she sings Irish ballads, especially in the Irish language, audiences are awestruck. Sara has an Irish-born mother who encouraged her interest in music.
Damian Brennan and Sara Fitzpatrick have just released their first CD, Dear Irish Boy. There are 15 tracks on the album and Sara sings the title song Dear Irish Boy unaccompanied. In this song, she captures the essence of anyone who has lost a loved one due to war or conflict, past and present.
Damian touches on the poignant heartbreak of leaving as he plays Farewell to Glasgow on the tin whistle. The lovely Lakes of Ponchartain is a combination of Damian's singing and Sara's soulful fiddle playing.
To order your copy of Murphy's Lagh, Dear Irish Boy, visit: www.murphyslagh.com
A Tribute to Walter Flett
Walter Flett was an outstanding champion old-time fiddler. The collection of music on this album is a tribute to him as it carries on the tradition of his fiddling style. In these tunes such as Ebb & Flow and Manitoba which Walter handed down to his sons Lawrence "Teddy Boy" Houle and James Flett, we can hear the influence of Celtic, Scottish, French Canadian, Appalachlan and Irish music.
From the Eastern longhouse to the Western plains, music has been a common thread among the Aboriginal peoples, in particular the Metis. When asked about his musical ability and talent, Walter Flett would respond, "Besides hours and hours of practice, you merely whittle away what ain't dog when carving a dog."
This is wonderful fiddle music and anyone who either plays fiddle or appreciates this style would love this CD.
For more information about the music of the great Metis fiddle player Walter Flett, visit: www.metisfiddlerquartet.com.
MARTIN HAYES/DENNIS CAHILL
Welcome Here Again
Irish fiddle virtuoso Martin Hayes and American guitarist Dennis Cahill possess a rare musical kinship, ranking them among the most memorable partnerships of our era. Together they have garnered international renown for holding their listeners spellbound with their slow-building fiery performances.
Martin Hayes' accomplishments extend far and wide, both artistically and geographically. He has been an All-Ireland fiddle champion six times over, and has taken home a National Entertainment Award, the Irish equivalent to the "Grammy."
Born in Ireland and now residing in Seattle, Martin plays in the slow, lyrical style of his native East County Clare. He grew up playing traditional music with his father, P.J. Hayes, leader of the famed Tulla Ceili Band.
Dennis Cahill is a master guitarist, versed as well in classical, blues and rock as he is in traditional music. A native of Chicago born to parents from County Kerry, Ireland. Martin met Dennis in Chicago when he first moved to the U.S. in the 1980s. After Hayes and Cahill experimented for a short time with a variety of new music styles, they both eventually turned back to their traditional roots.
It is often said that the musical rapport between Hayes and Cahill is such that they appear to be playing one instrument, "working on a seemingly telepathic level."
Martin Hayes has just been awarded the TG4's 2008 Gradam Ceoil Awaard for Traditional Musician of the Year. The Oscar of the traditional music world. The Gradam Ceoil is the highest accolade a traditional Irish musician can receive.