Album Review - Siún / The Blue-Eyed Rascal

One of TradConnect's goals is to give a voice to the hundreds of musicians across the globe who have a passion and love for the tradition, and who take the time and effort to go into a studio and record. This especially applies to our youth a lot of whom are studying at third level. Music for many is not a full time job so recording while studying, and carrying forth the tradition is to be admired. It is also great to see them getting into the studio at a younger age, learning the technical ropes of recording, thus allowing them to absorb its challenges and take traditional music to new levels in the future. 

When listening to new albums it is very nice to be surprised. On arriving home I found this album in the post, put it into the CD player and set about my usual tasks. From the outset I knew it had been recorded by musicians with a desire to set down on record the tunes that informed their youth. My expectations were not high having never heard of Siún before, but bearing in mind the quality of music that can be heard in the classrooms of the All Ireland Fleadh, my mind was totally open. The name Siún, which is a nice play on the musicians own names (Siobhán and Úna) is a great name choice.

So it played away nicely in the background and in the first three tracks we had a whistle duet of jigs comprising O'Dea's / The Cat's Meow, a barndance with fiddle and flute, Dances of Kinvara/The Peach Blossom, followed by some nice jigs comprising The Humours of Kilclogher / Mikey Callahan's on uilleann pipes.

I picked up the album cover to see who the guest musicians were and to my surprise there were none. This spread of instruments was simply Siobhán and Una. For relatively young players their music is extremely solid, well played and tightly arranged. You know that these musician's have been playing together for some time and that they know these tunes very well indeed.

Siún comprise sisters Siobhán and Úna Hogan. Both are natives of Kilnaboy Co.Clare and their music reflects the hearty music of the North Clare region. They started learning their music at an early age from Garry Shannon who is also a TradConnect member and who is also involved in the Meitheal festival. Siobhán is also an All Ireland Champion on whistle as well as winning the senior flute in 2005. They continued to play throughout their teens and went on to study at the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance at the University of Limerick, both receiving a B.A. & M.A. There Siobhán took up the uilleann pipes and Úna, the fiddle. Their love of the music has led them to record this album.

They take us on a journey through the music of their area. Track three is a beautiful set of jigs The Humours of Kilclogher and Mikey Callaghan's with Siobhán's uilleann pipe playing standing out with a beautiful clarity of tone. I would love to know how many years she has been playing this instrument, having taken it up in college, although on second thoughts I might feel justifiably deflated with the answer.

The Blue -Eyed Rascal is beautiful North Clare music delivered by two musicians who's name we should watch out for.

Listen and but here

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