Traditional Irish Music
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Oisín and Conal Hernon are from the Aran Island of Inis Mór. Accomplished musicians they have accumulated nine All-Ireland Champion titles between them. Across the Sound is their second recording. They previously recorded the album Up and Coming / Ó Ghlúin go Glúin in 2008, featuring three generations of musicians, including their grandfather Michael Craven and their mother Marion.
This recording is dedicated to their late grandfather, Michael “Inky” Craven, who they describe as a “musician, mentor and the wellspring of their talents.” This album is a departure from the norm as it includes all new compositions. They are joined by Tara Breen (fiddle), Tommy Keane (uilleann pipes), Jim Higgins (percussion), Eugene Killeen (strings, bass, percussion) and Locko Cullen (bouzouki).
We asked Oisín about the decision to record new compositions, and how they have accumulated so many tunes at a relatively young age. He said that once they began composing tunes and receiving positive feedback from fellow musicians, the idea of recording them was always in the back of their minds.
“A few musicians would have asked us to write the tunes down, or to record them so that they could learn them, and that gave us the confidence to compose and arrange more pieces.” he said.
We include an exclusive track from the album below. It’s a set of reels including An Chéad Síol/Oileán an Tuí/Poll na bPéist. ‘An Chéad Síol’ is the first tune composed by Oisín some time back. ‘Oileán an Tuí’ is named after the island one passes before entering Kilronan Harbour, home of the local lighthouse. ‘Poll na bPéist’ is named after a topographical feature in Gort na gCapall, a stunning rectangular pool carved into the rock by the Atlantic Ocean.
One standout feature of the album is the use of bass and percussion which we ask Oisín about. “We did approach the recording knowing that there would be a lot of bass and percussion in the arrangements”, he says. “We play with bass and percussion quite often and we feel that those instruments complement the tunes and our playing style very well. However, a lot of the arrangements evolved while we were in the studio, with Eugene Killeen having a strong influence on some of the tracks. His suggestion of adding some fiddle (Tara Breen) on the first track led to fiddle on numerous tracks and gave us a better sound and mix. The harmonies for Track 2, the inclusion of Uilleann Pipes (Tommy Keane) on Track 3 and the composition of a waltz are other elements of the album that evolved while we were in the studio.”
Oisín and Conal felt that they needed these musicians in the studio with them, to provide a different sound and to give a nice balance to the recording. “We always knew that we would need a bodhrán player from the beginning, and I had met Jim Higgins a few times at different events and workshops.” he said.
“We knew that he would be open to accompanying us on newly composed tunes and we were delighted when he agreed to contribute to the album. His competency and consistency shone through when he recorded with us and performed with little fuss.”
“Tommy Keane on Uilleann Pipes and Tara Breen on fiddle were ideas that came into play while we were in the studio. We felt that the ‘March’ would be more suitable for the Uilleann Pipes and it gave me great satisfaction when Tommy learned and recorded a tune that I composed. Tara had the most difficult task of everyone, as she had to learn a number of tunes, and she learned them to perfection, and played them with great style and confidence. The most pleasing part of the whole project was the fact that musicians of the quality of Tommy and Tara learned and recorded tunes that we composed. It was something that evolved while we were in the process of recording and it improved the album considerably.”
On the issue of launches Oisín says that “We had our first launch on Inis Mór at the beginning of August and it was a great success. A lot of musicians and friends that we have met down through the years travelled out to the island for the night, and we had a great concert and session at Joe Watty's Bar and Restaurant. The local support was also fantastic and it made all the hard work worthwhile.”
We are having our second launch at Tigh Fox Trad House in Galway this Friday, 18th of September at 8:30, and the album will be launched by Máirtín O'Connor, on what promises to be a great night of music. We will be performing some of the tunes on the CD in a concert setting, with a big session for all of the musicians afterwards. We will then be looking to perform at various traditional and arts festivals at the turn of the year and to have a busy summer in 2016!
The album has been released by Cló lar-Chonnacht and is now available for purchase from their website. 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.
Accompaniment / Tionlacan
Tara Breen – fiddle
Tommy Keane – uilleann pipes
Jim Higgins – percussion
Eugene Killeen – Strings, bass, percussion
Locko Cullen – Bouzouki
Recording & Mixing / Taifeadadh & Meascadh: Eugene Killeen, The Sound Room, Galway
Mastering / Máistriú: Richard Dowling, WAV Mastering
Producers / Leiritheoirí: Oisín & Conal Hernon, Eugene Killeen
Photography / Grianghraif: Peadar Ó Goill
Design / Dearadh: Hayes Design
Thanks to / buíochas le
All of the musicians who recorded with us on this album: Tara Breen, Locko Cullen, Jimmy Higgins and Tommy Keane. Fionnghuala Ní Choncheanainn for her advice and written contributions. Máirtín O'Connor for his kind words and advice. Peadar Ó Goill for the photographs. Deirdre Ní Thuathail of Cló Iar-Chonnacht for once again giving us the opportunity to record our music. And last, but certainly not least, special thanks to Eugene Killeen who went above and beyond his call of duty with his time and commitment.
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