Album Review - Mary Mac Namara / Note for Note

In 1994 Mary Mac Namara released the classic concertina album Traditional Music From East Clare.  It won many people over to the beauty of concertina music, and her latest album called Note for Note follows in much the same vein.  Mary more than anyone can make listening to solo concertina music one of the most glorious things in the world. Her debut grabbed me all those years ago and the same goes for this.  The album is defined by the East Clare style of playing.  On this she says that “the style is marked by the sparse use of commonly used ornamentation such as crans, rolls and triplets. A less technical type of ornamentation has developed, for example double octave playing and transmission of rhythm to the bellows through the foot tap in the case of concertina and melodeon players.  The style is also marked by the emphasis on rhythm and swing which captures the listener and dancer alike.’

Recording the album at the home of Peadar Ó Riada has added another layer of acoustic beauty to proceedings, with the natural environment setting the music at ease.  Everything is stripped down to the bare elements of the tune and is played at a sympathetic pace that both respects and enhances the melodic lines.  With Mary you simply live in the moment of her playing and from that gain some unspoken knowledge and insight.  “Solo playing has always been where I consider a musician’s soul is discovered.” she says.  That discovery awaits the listener and across 16 tracks you will be taken deep into the heart of what this music is all about. Outstanding.

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Comment by Arsène Cormier on January 31, 2015 at 6:19
Pure beauty ! On my shopping list for sure.

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