Masters of Their Craft (TARA3039, 2013)
Irish record label Tara Records has put together a compilation that features some of the most important Irish traditional and contemporary folk artists from the past three decades. It’s a great opportunity to discover a great selection of talent from Ireland.
Masters of Their Craft presents musical works where the Irish musicians have gone beyond traditional music, creating musical hybrids and cross-cultural collaborations. The album opens with the lively ‘The Storm’ by Moving Hearts, with a fusion of Irish uilleann pipes and low whistle combined with jazz and rock elements.
Rita Connolly is one of the best known singers in Ireland. Her songs ‘Ripples In The Rockpools’ and ‘Amiens’ mix pop, contemporary rock and jazz elements.
Although Planxty is best known as a legendary Irish folk music group, the band occasionally ventured into sounds from other parts of the globe. In this case they perform a Bulgarian piece titled ‘Smeceno Horo’ (track 3) and the Irish song ‘The Good Ship Kangaroo’ (track 7).
Stockton’s Wing featured four all-Ireland champions in their original line-up: Maurice Lennon on fiddle, Paul Roche on flute and whistle, Kieran Hanrahan on banjo and Tommy Hayes on bodhran. Their tunes are titled ‘The Rossclogher Jigs,’ a fabulous instrumental mix of traditional and contemporary Irish music; and the cheerful vocal piece ‘Beautiful Affair.’
On ‘Dia Do Bheathasa’ Irish composer Shaun Davey brings together traditional and classical music, incorporating pipes, traditional instruments, a grand choir and orchestral arrangements.
Two outstanding instrumentalists, piper Liam O’Flynn and guitarist Mark Knofler collaborate on the splendid instrumental ‘An Droichead’ (The Bridge).
The great Davy Spillane is a world class whistle and pipe performer. He is joined by American musicians Bela Fleck and Jerry Douglas on two exquisite instrumental pieces titled ‘Daire’s Dream’ and ‘Atlantic Bridge.’
Irish folk legends Clannad need no presentation. The band participates in this compilation with two wonderful songs with its trademark vocal sound: ‘An tUll’ and ‘Mhórag’s Na Horo Gheallaidh.’
Christy Moore is a folk singer-songwriter who contributes the songs ‘The Crack Was Ninety In The Isle Of Man’ and the evocative ‘Black Is The Colour Of My True Love’s Hair.’
Liam O’Flynn returns on track 11 with a Galician dance medley ‘Muiñeira de Poio / Muiñeira de Ourense’ in which he is joined by the Spanish bagpipes of pipe maestro Carlos Núñez.
Nollaig Casey and Arty McGlynn are two talented instrumentalists who perform a vibrant mix of traditional music, funk and jazz.
The album concludes with another classical crossover composition by Shaun Davey titled ‘May We Never Have to Say Goodbye.’
Overall, Masters of Their Craft is a wonderful selection of contemporary Irish music based in tradition from one of the essential record labels in Ireland.
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