Traditional Irish Music
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Cuisle is the new duet recording by Méabh Ní Bheaglaoich and Matt Griffin. Both have been playing together regularly since Matt moved to west Kerry in 2009. Méabh learned her music from her father Séamus, and from her older brothers, in a home that was rich in traditional music and song. In talking to Matt he goes as far as to say that “Steve Cooney lived in the basement of the house in Baile na pBoc and there were always visiting musicians playing and singing at any and every social occasion.” All of this led to a life full of music and song with influences that resonate to this day and now inform Méabh’s own music, and this recording in particular.
Matt’s musical influences are also varied and he says that he “was definitely drawn to the west Kerry style of playing. This is a musical style totally connected to the local set dancing. It’s usually a little faster and perhaps not quite as elegant as its Sliabh Luachra cousin. It does however have that undefinable internal swing that instantly identifies Kerry music. West Kerry also boasts an amazing tradition in Sean nós song which also influences the vocal tracks on Cuisle.
As an introduction to the album we include Track 1. It’s called Slippery Slides and includes Hare in the Corn, Sleamhnán Shéamuis and The Slippery Slide. The first is a traditional Sliabh Luachra tune, followed by Méabh’s version of “My Love in the Morning” which she dedicates to her father, Séamus. Matt and Méabh wrote the last slide together and it is loosely based on the “Appalachian Concerto” by Jens Kruger.
Matt says that the album kind of made itself insomuch as they were playing the tune sets together on a regular basis and they were fairly well rehearsed and ready to go. Méabh picked a variety of songs, some long term favorites as well as some new material. As with the set above the tunes are a mix of old standards with some new compositions by Méabh and Matt also included.
He says that “the style of the record is undoubtedly a nod to the “Meitheal” album released by Séamus Begley and Steve Cooney back in 1994. Steve revolutionised guitar playing in the local area and between them, they arguably put the music of Chorca Dhuibhne on the map.”
For Matt in particular this is a busy year. Last month we launched another duet album that he made with Teresa Horgan called Brightest Sky Blue. His orchestration and arranging skills were very much in evidence on that excellent recording. On Cuisle there are also some outstanding tracks that once again demonstrate what can be achieved with bass and percussion. We asked Matt if they enjoyed approaching the material with some fresh ideas.
“We undoubtedly had fun in the studio with this one” he said. “I wouldn’t go as far as to say it was “orchestrated” in any way. With my last album, I actually sat down with a pencil and manuscript paper and imagined a whole arrangement. With this album, we experimented with ideas in the studio as they came to us. How much or little you layer a track depends entirely on personal taste. The tune is always king, everything else is intended to enhance the presentation of it, without being a distraction.”
“The use of bass in trad music is nothing new” he says. “The Bothy Band experimented with it and later on bands like Stockton's Wing and Lúnasa made it a mainstay of their line up. I believe the bass completes and holds a track together. The bass notes are already there in the bottom end of the guitar or the piano on any trad track. Adding a bass guitar or double bass anchors the whole track down and fills out the gap in the bottom end of the overall sound.”
The album is now on release and is available from all of the usual outlets. For radio broadcasters it is free to download and the details are given below.
You can purchase or Download the album from CDBaby. Just click on the icon below.
For Broadcasters that are part of our Download Centre it is FREE to Download. Follow the link below and ensure that you are signed in to Tradconnect.
Méabh Ní Bheaglaoich : Accordions, vocals and backing vocals
Matt Griffin : Nylon, Steel, High-string, Electric & Bass Guitars, Percussion and Guitar synth
Séamus Ó Beaglaoich : Vocals on track 2
Tony O’Flaherty : Piano
Niamh Varian Barry : Viola
Recorded by : Donogh Hennessy at Studio Mhic an Daill, Dingle
Additional Recording and mixing by : Tony O’Flaherty at Sonas Recording , Killarney
Viola recorded by : Peter Staunton at productions.ie
Produced by: Matt Griffin
Photography by : Derbhla Hutchinson
Cover artwork by : Dómhnal Ó Bric
Layout and Design by : www.ogmediagroup.com
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