Album Review - Dermot Byrne & Floriane Blancke

Displaying a delicate and sensitive touch Dermot Byrne has brought his accordion into new territory with a definite French twist on this duet album with Floriane Blancke. Every note has a sweetness to it and every track glistens as they dance and weave their instruments in a harmony of traditional Irish and French music.  The opener Monaghan Jig/The Templehouse is delivered in as beautiful a set as you could imagine.  La Valse des Jouets follows quickly. Better known as The Waltz of the Toys it is an enchanting piece of music composed by singer, storyteller and composer Michel Faubert of Quebec.  The meeting of musicians from different backgrounds can create something special and so it is on this tune and on the album in general.

From his Donegal roots and long career with Altan, Dermot embodies the truth of the tradition that has brought him to this point. However there can be a seismic shift in tone and texture when external influence comes a knocking. This partnership developed from sessions in Galway with Floriane Blancke who is the grand-daughter of jazz musician Stanislas Suranyi and also of Marthe Blancke a classical French singer and violinist.  Dermot describes what they do as a weaving of music.  It is in fact a weaving of magic.  All the tracks are outstanding in their finesse, mood and ever so elegant arrangement. They take us on a journey through reels, waltzes and hornpipes.  Mister O' Connor, a Turlough Carolan tune and a French vocal track by Floriane called La Clairiere are outstanding.

Contributions are also given on guitar by Tim Edey, cellist Eimear O’Grady, percussion by Tommy Hayes, Mary Shannon on mandolin, swing guitarist Frank Kilkelly, and mandolin, guitar, keyboards and bass by Brendan O’Regan. This is music that was destined to be recorded and what you get is a magnificent collaboration of Irish and French styles that deserves to be heard and built upon. 
It makes for an album that is refreshingly different in the moods it creates and the afterglow it leaves once heard.


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