Album Review - Tríona Marshall / Between Two Ways

Harp music seems to be making a resurgence of late, in a manner that is lifting it from its stately ‘airs and graces’ perception.  This new release by Tríona Marshall shows just how far boundaries can be pushed.  Listen to the opening track on this recording, a duet with Tim Edey, and in an instant you are hearing another side of this instrument. The format of the album is interesting.  While the opener rips it up a bit, there is still plenty of the emotional depth that only a harp can reveal. Aisling Na hEalaí, a duet with David James on cello, is a tune that the word ‘haunting’ unquestionably applies to.  In addition to David James and Tim Edey, you hear Sean Keane, Paddy Moloney, Martin Hayes and Seamus Begley on some outstanding intricate arrangements.  

For Triona it was all about “opening new doors and forging new ground, not just on a technical level but also on that deep emotional level.” Martin Tourish was her collaborator, writer and co-producer on several of the arrangements, many of which are simply outstanding.  Seamus Begley on Amhrán An Dá Bhóthair is matched for delivery by Triona’s textured approach - a delight - plain and simple. On The Spark and the Flame with Martin Hayes, she traces the same melody lines for a 9 minute exploration of harp and fiddle. While I’m not a great fan of dancing on traditional albums, she manages to seamlessly integrate the dance steps of Nathan Pilatzke into The Hangman’s Reel Set. With Elegy you get a duet with Paddy Moloney based on a traditional Japanese melody entitled Kado Biwa. This is a duet album that covers a lot of ground across its 11 tracks, and shows the scope of what can be achieved in the hands of one of Ireland’s finest harpists. Outstanding music in every way.

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