Album Review - Jack Talty & Cormac Begley / Na Fir Bolg

Sometimes you simply have to sit back and bask in the glory of someone else's creation.  Take in the view, sample that fine wine or listen to that song one more time and think, how did they do that.  This is one such moment and for this you may need headphones, settle in and let's begin.

Joe Bane's Reel. Tune No.1.  What you get is a concert pitch C/G concertina in your left channel and a Bb/F baritone concertina in your right. Who dreams this stuff up? I have listened to this track a dozen times and it is magic. This is music stripped bare, recorded over four days in St. Nicholas' Collegiate Church in Galway.  They have avoided the use of editing and studio manipulation and have stated that what you hear is what you get.  This to me is like manna from heaven and something that I would definitely like to hear more of.   A solution needs to be found between the clinical sound of the studio and the evocative and open sound of a quiet pub corner.  This may be it.  Oh that they would come to my local church any Sunday. It may well re-ignite my waning faith.  This is music that could keep you up til three in the morning.

Regarding headphones I jest not.  Sometimes you need them to fully appreciate what is going on, what is being created and what it is doing to you.  Traditional musicians tend not to be reflective souls regarding what they have done or have achieved.  Their's is always a tomorrow full of new promise.  This concertina recording is the highlight of the last decade or more.  I hope they know that.

They take us through their musical world. John Kelly's Concertina Reel/Cronin's Reel continues the pace leading us to a lovely set of Jigs called The Hare in the Corn/Cronin's played at a smart pace with boots tapping out the rhythm.  On The College Groves/The Flogging the sound quality simply jumps off the recording such is it's clarity.

What appealed to me most about this album is the stark rawness of the sound and the combination of the instruments. Music like this is simply on another level.  It has a resonant atmospheric sound that Jack Talty and Cormac Begley have somehow achieved.   Na Fir Bolg gives us glorious uncensored concertina music in a setting that I haven't heard for quite a while.   The melody and interplay of instruments is steady as a rock, the melody always shines through and before you know it you are caught up in the magic that they weave.

And on and on we go with each track as good as the last.   But hey, discover it for yourself.   See what you find in it and see where it takes you. I'm tired, I think I need to lie down now, I was up til 3 am last night.


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