Traditional Irish Music
Raelach Records have just announced the release of Noel Hill’s new album, “Live in New York” – the third in his instrument-defining Irish Concertina series, and we have an exclusive first listen for you. The track is “Banish Misfortune” and Noel writes: “I play this jig in memory of the wonderful and unique fiddle player, Patrick Kelly (1905 – 1976) of Cree, Co. Clare. I also play it in memory of my uncle, Pádraic A' Chnoic (1910 – 1985). It was his favourite of the tunes I played.”
It is ten years since Irish Concertina 2 and in that time – as many of you will be aware – Noel has come through some enormous challenges, including a severe assault on his person that left him close to being unable to play music again. As Tony Mac Mahon writes in the sleeve note: “Many of us know how lucky we are that he is still with us.”
“I started a sentence in 2008 and have been suffering that sentence ever since,” Noel explains.
Fortunately, Noel is a strong spirit and has, thankfully, pulled through, and although it is still physically difficult and tiring for him to play, play he must, and play he does.
Not just in Ireland, but abroad too, particularly in the United States, and in this recording we have the pleasure of eavesdropping on one of those instances in New York when Noel rises fully to his audience’s expectations and gives them all that energy he is famous for, and more in terms of variety of tunes, variety of moods, subtlety of interpretation and drive of playing.
Irish Concertina 3: Live in New York is with us by the skin of its teeth and we are thankful for it. As Tony says, “Through his dedication, talent, and artistry, Noel produces one of the most powerful and beautiful expressions of our culture I know. In this live recording the listeners tell you clearly of their excitement and relief that he is still playing.”
Noel too: “Since my earliest memory, music is the thing that drives me. It’s a deep thing in your soul, and I’m just happy that even with the pain afterwards I’m still be able to share it with people.”
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