This is the finest example of fiddle playing in the Irish traditional repertoire that I have ever heard, without exception. Martin Hayes is an outstanding technician and musician, a true virtuoso, and this allows him to evoke the spirit of the land and people that inspired this music more powerfully than ever before in my opinion. He treats the melodies with tremendous respect, and does not force any style or feeling upon them, rather letting them speak for themselves, through him. The music of County Clare is some of the most passionate and lyrical in the Irish folk tradition, and it's reels are arguably the finest written anywhere. Martin Hayes must be the greatest interpreter of this beatiful music that there has ever been.
Dennis Cahill, who accompanies Martin Hayes on this wonderful album, is perhaps the most influential guitarist in Celtic music today, and his style is something new to the genre, destined to be the basis of much that follows. His harmonic sense seems to incorporate elements of many other styles, and creates the perfect foundation for Hayes' exquisitely crafted melodies. His playing also explores the rhythms of the music superbly, and he seems to achieve much greater richness than his sparse style should allow. He seems as much a master of the guitar as Hayes is of the fiddle.
The musical link between Hayes and Cahill seems almost perfect, and Cahill seems to know precisely what Hayes will do next, and exactly how best to accentuate it. The interplay between them brings the music to life powerfully, and there is an obvious joy for them in this music. They seem to share such an intelligent vision of where the music is going, that at times it could be one person playing both instruments. Their dynamic performance incorporates spontaneity and precision, and lovers of both modern classical music and jazz will find interest here too.
Every piece in here is an absolute gem, and at the moment, my favourite is "Paddy Fahy's Reel" a wonderful traditional piece with a sweet, incredibly evocative melody, championed by it's namesake, one of Clare's most important players.
If you like Irish fiddle music, than this is a simply mandatory purchase, and I guarantee that you will be utterly blown away by it. If you are less familiar, please believe that this is the perfect way to introduce yourself to this powerful and evokative music.
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