Music reviews: recently released albums from Irish and Irish-American artists
Tony DeMarco: The Sligo Indians
Tony DeMarco’s fiddle is something of a modern legend in the New York City traditional Irish music scene. His new CD, The Sligo Indians, demonstrates why with several lively reels, jigs, some heart-wrenching slow airs and a polka just to maintain that twist on the tradition that DeMarco has become known for.
Born in 1955 and raised in East Flatbush in Brooklyn, DeMarco experienced the merging of Italian and Irish culture within his own family (his mother’s grandparents were Irish immigrants) and within his neighborhood. Bypassing the usual competition scene that most fiddlers experience, DeMarco found his musical calling through what he described as the “hippie scene, the folkie scene.” Perhaps it was that organic setting of barroom sessions that gives The Sligo Indians that “live in your living room” sound.
DeMarco builds his intricate patterns and pulls the listener into the themes of a piece in unexpected ways, ever-anticipating the arc of the song. The album’s title track is a solid jig which teasingly excites the listener with a simple introduction that leads into a complex and lively tune.
The album closes with “Rosemary,” composed by Andy McGann for Rosemary Gillespie, daughter of famed 1930s fiddler Hughie Gillespie. The moving piece combines a sense of remorse and hope that DeMarco plays with complete compassion and stunning ornamentation, an absolutely haunting performance. Available on his website tonydemarcomusic.net and on iTunes, The Sligo Indians was released by the Smithsonian’s Folkways Recordings series.
– Tara Dougherty
Music in the Glen: Fuar
Appropriately titled Fuar, from the Irish for “cold,” this album is a collection of well known wintery and holiday songs by Music in the Glen, an Atlanta-based Irish band featuring Jason Killingsworth, Susan Moran, Suzanne Harner, Katherine Irwin Thomas, and Doug Murray. Fuar also features guest musicians Tim Anderson (who produced the album) and Scott Miller
Combining fiddle, bodhrán, guitar, harp, uilleann pipes, mandolin, flute, bouzouki and cello, Music in the Glen blends a range of instrumental voices that are perfectly applied to holiday classics. Not to limit their sound, Killingsworth and Moran provide vocals to a number of tracks as well, though they can be distracting at times. The vocals are impressively integrated on the band’s rendition of “Wexford Carol.” Starting with an instrumental introduction, which moves slowly and lulls the listener, Moran’s voice enters with the familiar tune.
“Miss Rowan Davies” is a beautiful track which showcases the band’s true strength of layering complex musical patterns into a comforting and peaceful musical experience. Their energy cannot be denied on tracks like “Kilmovee Jig” which picks up the pace of the album and really celebrates the rhythm of Irish music. Fuar is available on iTunes and at the band’s website, musicglenatlanta.com.
- Gay wedding cakes latest target of anti-gay...
- Racist incidents in Ireland up by 85 percent...
- The New York Times questions Ireland’s highly-p
- An open letter in strong defence of capitalism.
- Offensive NFL sign outside restaurant just...
- A Magdalene Laundry US adoptee who holds...
- Irish radio presenter suspended after anti-Isra
- No Irish prosecution for man named as world’s...
- Nelson Mandela was against IRA decommissioning.
- Baby dies in horror birth at Belfast hospital...