Album Review - Sylvain Barou, Dónal Lunny, Pádraig Rynne / Triad

Triad brings together three of the leading lights in Irish traditional music. Dónal Lunny needs no introduction being one of the founding members of groups like Planxty, The Bothy Band and Moving Hearts.  Pádraig Rynne has for some time been cementing his position as one of our most creative concertina players through his work with Guidewires and other collaborations.  Sylvain Barou has single-handedly pushed the cause of Breton music like no other, and together they make up the threesome that is Triad.

There is the distinctive Guidewires and Pádraig Rynne sound to the opening track called It's a thought when you think about it. It’s a new Rynne composition and you can see why they open with it. If we had a top 20 trad singles this would hold the top spot for quite a while.  They pair this with a John McSherry composition called The Slide From Grace and The Star above The Garter.  Each member brings a number of their own compositions to the party with Rynne contributing 7 in total. It says something about a musician when their style of play develops an immediately recognisable sound. For Rynne that is true, with his modern traditional music infused with external influence from Europe and elsewhere. Dónal Lunny also contributes some strong tracks with Here Comes Herself  being an unfinished composition from his involvement with Coolfin, a brilliant track that also features John McSherry on uilleann pipes.  There is an explorative nature to the music as they move through the various sets.

It’s this mix of modern traditional music combined  with Breton and other styles that have made Guidewires such a groundbreaking band and the same accolades apply here.  For example Sylvain introduces a tune called Svampmannen which he heard from Swedish group Vasen. With the introduction of Jacques Pellen on guitar and Tóla Custy on fiddle they give it a Breton feel that makes it a simply beautiful, slow, meandering, and contemplative tune.  Add in the final track on the album called Skipstep where Dónal  “overcomes the ubiquitous 4-beats-in-a-bar which dominates popular music” In this he “hit on a way to put threes across fours by starting the threes a few beats later, thus avoiding the uncomfortable bit that normally comes towards the end of the cycle.” I’m still trying to get my head around that one.  Either way it’s a great track

The music throughout is beautifully nuanced in its delivery.  They introduce phrasing, tempo shifts and multi tracking that is really awe inspiring.  Rynne and Barou's previous working relationship is evident and with support from the master that is Lunny and guest musicians John McSherry (uilleann pipes), Tóla Custy ( fiddle ) and Jacques Pellen ( 12 String Guitar ) they deliver an album that will stand the test of time. For any number of tracks it is worth the investment, for all 10 tracks it is not to be missed.

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Comment by Marco Cavina on June 26, 2013 at 15:39

Hi just bought the album and I love it. I'm a great fan of Guidewires and I follow everything that the members do in other projects. The cd has a great selections of tunes and the playing it's best.

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