Aoibheann & Pamela Queally - Touching the boundaries of old and new on debut recording

Beyond the Bellows & The Bow is an outstanding new release by sisters Aoibheann and Pamela Queally, from Kilmaley in West County Clare. Their music is heavily influenced by the rhythmic and melodic style of the Clare tradition, inspired by greats such as Martin Hayes, Galway based Kane Sisters and Chris Droney. As a result of these influences, they create a relatable and fresh addition to the older style of Clare traditional music that is so often featured. Greats like Paddy Murphy, Peadar O Loughlin and others are still referenced and more locally Aoibheann and Pamela said: “While many great musicians have inspired us we specifically dedicated the album to the memory of our dear friend, and close neighbour Mike Cahill who had a significant impact on our music when we were growing up. He was our audience for many a day when nobody was listening, having been a fiddle player himself.”

This is track 3 off the album featuring the reels Honeymoon, Martin Rochford's and The Leading Role. Regarding the track, Aoibheann and Pamela said: "We first met fiddler Yvonne Casey at a session in Brogan’s Bar in Ennis and ever since we have been touched by her gentle, unique sound. She recorded this tune on her album back in 2004. The second tune, we learned from our friend and east Clare fiddle player, Amy Mc Namara. The final tune is a composition of Liz Carroll’s that we learned from a group of our good musician friends, The Sows."

Regarding their music they go on to say that “our aim was to capture the stylistic rhythmic bounce of Clare music while simultaneously nurturing a sweet gentle sound that we find so appealing.” The new album is a clear representation of this achievement. This comes from a lifetime playing music together in Kilamley, where they say they have “naturally gelled both rhythmically and melodically since we first started learning music”.

Their subtle approach to the traditional music scene is admirable and this is evident on the album where they sweetly touch the boundaries of the tradition, joined by Eoin O'Neill on Bouzouki, Gearoid McNamara on Piano, Shane Creed on Guitar and Nuala Hehir on Accordion on one track. The album is particularly interesting for the wide variety of old-style traditional music that is included, while at the same time allowing their creativity to take flight on some newer compositions. The former is represented by compositions by the likes of Paddy O'Brien, Finbarr Dwyer and Sean Ryan feature while newer compositions from Caitlín Nic Gabhann, Niall Valley and Maurice Lennon also get an outing. This results in a perfect marriage of old and new on one of the best albums of the year.

All of this and more contribute to a beautifully paced and resonant recording that celebrates the past and present in the hands of two gifted musicians. Highly recommended.  

The album can be downloaded from

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Comment by Bruce Cameron on April 17, 2019 at 8:32

Downloaded album for broadcast on Come All Ye.  Thanks from Australia.

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