Album Review - Dan Brouder / The Lark's Air

The Lark's Air is described by Dan Brouder as "an album born out of years of  listening and learning from past and present masters of traditional music". For a musician that comes from Monagea, in west Limerick,  just outside the boundary of Sliabh Luachra, inspiration was not far away.  The Sliabh Luachra tradition fed into his music and is evident on this his debut album as well. The Larks Air bristles with style and flair and is a fitting tribute to the past masters that Dan so willingly acknowledges.  It is traditional accordion playing from the top drawer with selections and arrangements that concentrate on presenting music of the finest quality.  Even Sliabh Luchra standards such as The Kettle Boiled Over / Patie Learys jump to life. 

Dan has a solid and inspiring style reminiscent of the great Joe Burke.  Reels such as Eddie Kellys / The Sailor's Cravat / Miss Johnson are played with an authority and understated execution that belies the mastery of the musician pushing the buttons.  He is in cruise control throughout lifting the pace as required, adding little flourishes here, triplets there and the tap tap of the key pads adding to the magical music that is unfolding all the time.  Munster music it most definitely is, with 4 sets of reels among the 14 tracks, the rest made up of  jigs, slides, polkas and a fling, flung in for good measure. It takes a Munster musician to remind us of how good this music can sound and to ground us in the finer details of music appreciation. Dan is joined throughout by some great accompanists in the shape of Donal O' Sullivan on flute, Angelina Carberry on banjo, Francis O' Connor on flute and Aíne ni Chonnaill on fiddle. 

And there is no better way to close out a Munster musicians album than with some polkas and that is what we get with The Knocknaboul Polkas / The Girl I left behind / Finbar Dwyers Polka.  To answer the statement made by Dan in his album notes where he states " I hope this recording does justice to the past and present masters that have handed down this magnificent tradition" Well the answer Dan is a resounding and unequivocal yes.  This is music and a recording that delivers in spades and brings to the top of the pile a new master of traditional Irish accordion. For that we thank you.

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Comment by Mike McGovern on August 29, 2018 at 15:12
One of my favourite albums. Never get tired of listening to it.
Comment by Dick Glasgow on May 17, 2012 at 15:20

I got this a while back ... it's a cracker!


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