CD Review: O’Connor, McSherry & Graham ~ Ulaid


Scan0002Donal O’Connor – John McSherry – Sean Og Graham

Release Date 23rd October 2015

Many weave Celtic/Irish traditional music into their acoustic, rock and progressive music due to the melodic, beat music that is drenched in an infectious beat. This is an album that is one hundred percent authentic it is the heart soul and mind that is Irish traditional music. The trio of musicians
Donal O’Connor a multi-instrumentalist the son of celebrated fiddler Gerry O’Connor and Eithane Ni Uallachain singer extraordinaire– John McSherry, making the Uilleann Piping come alive pushing the boundaries of traditional Irish music and Sean Og Graham, guitar and accordion player who has performed and recorded with many traditional musicians.
The album title is a word that is the name applied to a given ethnic group, rather than geographic location and The Ulaid gave their name to the Province of Ulster which is rather fitting as the trio of outstanding musicians live in County Antrim in the North East of Ireland. The album they have created is like the people of Ulster full of tears, laughter and dance whose histories are the weft and warp that weaves itself around your musical memories as the instruments evoke shapes, tones and emotions painting a tonal landscape in your mind.
We dance the polka with Polska Polka with the melding of Eastern European cadences that make you want to get up as the fiddle and pipes set the tone. The tempo slows and the mood changes at the beginning of Punching Holes In Music then as O’Connor’s fiddle joins the beat picks up and the music shapes are explored around the dance beat this is music that doesn’t so much punch holes but sears into a musical memory of dance joined by a community for fun and the meeting of collective experiences. The Ramblers is a marching tune with a difference McSherry’s pipes give the tune a drive and clarity with a percussive foundation and searing fiddling the perfect start to a day rambling through Irish countryside and would give your feet a cushioning of musical pleasure. No Room To Wriggle in The Cauldron stays true to the architecture of Irish music the guitar playing of Graham gives this a contemporary feel that bounces along to a merry jig. The last track has the feeling of a lullaby, the laid back texture of the time to rest to put down your tools of labour and relax.

An instrumental journey through ULaid is one of Irish Melodies that linger long after the last note dies away.

Bluesdoodles gives this CD SEVEN pawprint half inchdoodle paws out of TEN ….

Track Listing

1. Top Up or Seamus
2. Polska Polka
3. Roll It There, Roisin
4. The Return of Madagascar
5. Punching Holes in Music
6. The Ramblers
7. If Ever I Marry
8. No Room To Wriggle In The Cauldron
9. Lights Out At Five

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