Album Review - Olaf Sickmann / Whistle Man

This is track 14 from a new album about to be released by composer, guitarist and tin whistle player Olaf Sickmann.

It’s his eight solo album which is somewhat surprising given that his name is not one that shows up too frequently in our news streams.  

He has in his corner the outstanding talents of Rolf Wagels, of German group Cara on bodhrán bringing some marvelously crisp and clear accompaniment to 15 self-penned tracks. Claus Steinort also features on flute.

There is a rich quality to Olaf’s music with new compositions that really deserve a little bit more attention and airplay.  His playing also has a sharp clarity of presentation it must be said.  We have been inundated with quality music of late and picking up some of these relatively new artists ( to us anyway ) for a first listen is very enriching.  

For whistle players in particular this deserves a listen. Unlike some of the generally faster Irish traditional whistle albums that have predominantly jigs and reels, Olaf introduces some new slow pieces that are in truth difficult to categorise, but clearly show another side to whistle playing in an album context.

Cave Music and To Be at Home could easily fit within a more mystical stage show and Blowed Glass, the final track is stripped bare in all its beautiful simplicity.  

These slower paced numbers allow the clarity and precision of his whistle to become evident and in the process some hauntingly simple yet beautiful melodies develop.  

The audio below is called A Morning Tune and includes a pair of more traditional reels with influences from his classical background.  He makes special reference to Rolf’s "rather groovy playing" on this.  

It’s quite a different album from the usual fare and is all the more enjoyable for it.

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