Album Review - Matt Dean / Trasna na Farraíge

It looks like 2013 will be another great year for flute albums with this new release from Matt Dean.  Matt is a Newcastle upon Tyne musician whose name may not be that familiar to people this side of the water. He has been a stalwart of the Newcastle traditional scene for some time and has been very involved with Comhaltas over the years. This album is the culmination of all those years and he opens it in a very sprightly fashion with the reel Christmas Eve followed by a tempo change into Willy Coleman's jig. The playing has a razor sharp quality to it with some very tasty ornamentation.  There are echos of some of the musicians that have inspired him over the years including Brian Finnegan of Flook, Matt Molloy and others.  Like a lot of flute players he seems to excel on some of the slower tunes with The Coolin slow air being a standout track. Likewise Lament for Staker Wallace fits into the same accomplished pattern, accompanied by the harp of Fiana Ní Chonaill.  A great track that gives a nice change of texture to the album.

He takes on two great hornpipes called The Golden Eagle and The Tailor's Twist with the first unaccompanied and the second with guitar and bodhrán.  The phrasing and ornamentation are again exemplary and display a musician very comfortable and at home with his music. No flute album would be complete without some whistle tunes and on the reels Colonel Fraser's/Tom Ward's Downfall you get an earth shattering delivery of these well known tunes with some fantastic variation and tonal clarity. The album features Kieran Leonard on bodhrán, Fionn Morrison on guitar and pipes, Fiana Ní Chonaill on harp and Rachel Conlon on fiddle.  As a debut album Trasna na Farraíge is impressive with Matt reaching the frighteningly high standards that are being set these days by both seasoned and debutant recording artists. It’s an effortlessly enjoyable debut with sufficient variety of tone, texture and arrangement to keep you hooked. 

Listen and Buy :

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