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MICK, LOUISE & MICHELLE MULCAHY
THE REEL NOTE
CICD202

The first thing to be said that the music on this CD is first class, no gimmicks, syncopations or other distractions, just extremely good music played by exceptionally talented musicians, across a range of instruments, all played to a very high standard.
A brief look at the track notes will reveal their influences, sources and heroes, which includes tunes and settings from the old masters and also includes tunes by recent composers and younger musicians.
The Mulcahy family represents a new generation of musicians who have made serious study of the music and are poised to bring it to a new height. This is so welcome and needs to be acknowledged and encouraged.

If their last album was a revelation for the rhythmic and beautiful Mulcahy sound - as well as the virtuosity across several instruments of Michelle and Louise - The Reel Note presents a new level of musicianship exploring their collective repertoire.
Mick Mulcahy from Brosna, Co. Kerry, recorded two accordion albums on the Gael-Linn label in 1976 and 1990, and, while he always played music at home, he never had to try to get his children to play as they quickly found their own way to it.
Louise and Michelle both started on tin whistle. At age 10 Louise moved on to the flute and as a teenager began playing uilleann pipes. Mick recalls driving Louise to Dublin from their home in Limerick every month for a year for lessons in Na Píobairí Uilleann. Louise recently guest-presented the TG4 traditional-music show Geantraí.
Michelle started playing the accordion aged six and surprised everyone when she asked for a harp at age ten. She subsequently took up the fiddle, piano and concertina. Michelle was TG4 Young Traditional Musician of the Year in 2006 and recently featured on Riverdance composer Bill Whelan's new album, The Connemara Suite, on a piece for harp and orchestra which he wrote for her.
Mick, Louise and Michelle Mulcahy regularly perform in Ireland the USA and have an unmistakable, infectious sound. As Martin Hayes writes, 'I first became familiar with the music of Mick Mulcahy from his first solo recording... I remember that both my father and I felt that his music had a great depth of feeling".

That same feeling that first made an impression on me has been handed on to his daughters and continues all the way through this recording.'

Also available from Copperplate:
CICD 180 Mick, Louis & Michelle Mulcahy: Reelin' in Tradition
Michell Mulcahy: Suaimhneas
Louise Mulcahy: Tuning The Road

 

Audio

Track 1: The Fog on the Hill

Track 2: Queen of May

Track 3: Eleanor Plunkett

Track 4: Caislean an Oir

Track Listing

  1. The Rose in the Heather/The Killavil/An Buachailin Ban

  2. The Fog on the HIll/Dave White's/Peg McGrath's

  3. The Stack of Oats/Nellie. Your Favour I Fear I'll Never Gain

  4. Planxty Davis/The Queen of May/Johnny Henry's Favourite

  5. The Rolling Hills of Brosna/Colonel McBain

  6. The Fox in the Thatch/The Snow on the Mountain/Killyglass Lake

  7. The Galway Rambler/The Morning Dew/The Boston Sligo Reel

  8. Eleanor Plunkett

  9. The Three Sisters Reel/Tap The Barrell/The Killavil Reel

  10. The Munster Jig/Old Hag, You Have Killed Me/The Humours of Lisheen

  11. Forget Me Not/McHugh's Reel/The Missing Reel

  12. Caislean an O'ir/May Ban

  13. The Bold Thady Quill/The Boys of Tanderagee/Celia's Jig

  14. John Kelly's/Rip The Calico/The New Line to Loughaun

 

PRESS

www.liveireland.com "The Livies" Jan 17

micawards micklouiseandmichellemulFemale Musicians of the Year – Michelle and Louise Mulcahy – The Reel Note

These two musicians are so wonderful, we are often at a loss for words. Their new album, The Reel Note, shows two young women rapidly rising with a very unique and talented approach to traditional music. Their father, Mick, raised the girls well, and all three of them have given us blessings disguised as cd’s for years. Be it Michelle on harp (there are those who say she is the best in the world), or Louise on any other musical instrument in the universe, they too have a sibling blend. Just as Cassie and Maggie Macdonald have vocals that blend seamlessly and perfectly, so do the Mulcahys in their instrumental work. The perfection of it all has to be heard to be believed. There are few honors the two haven’t won in Irish music, and rightly so. Fantastic.Bill Margeson

Chicago Irish American News: Tradition in Review Column Jan 17
Female Musicians of the Year

The Living Tradition Dec/Jan 17
A fourth album from the Mulcahy family, and they'll soon be running out of puns for the titles. Box-player Mick Mulcahy and his daughters Michelle and Louise are pretty much an icon of Irish music, with their easy intuitive playing, not to mention the trademark Mulcahy sharp tailoring, and the girls' striking dresses too. The cover of The Reel Note features fashion-plate photos of Louise and Michelle with flute and concertina, plus Mick's old grey Soprani box, and that's the main sound on this recording, but there's plenty of harp and pipes too. They're not above a bit of double-tracking to get all the instruments into the mix, but that's about the only concession to new-fangled technology here. Otherwise this is timeless music, straight and pure, drawn from the deep well of tunes on the Limerick-Kerry border.

Michelle's harp drives the opening set of jigs: Rose In The Heather, The Killavil and An Buachaillín Buí, they don't come much more traditional than that. The flowing flute contrasts nicely with more rhythmic accordion and concertina, the latter holding notes in the left hand to add light and shade to these old tunes. Reels next, and a couple of surprises: The Fog On The Hill is followed by a Jerry Holland composition, Dave White's, for a Cape Breton dancer, one of Jerry's more restrained pieces, and then Peg McGrath's, another modern reel but well established in the session repertoire. The Stack Of Oats is one of three Junior Crehan hornpipes here, all played at a fair clip. Reels, jigs and hornpipes are leavened by two slow pieces, and the first of these brings out Louise's uilleann pipes: Planxty Davis, probably a composition of Thomas Connellan. Pipes, accordion and concertina create a wall of sound enhanced by Michelle's fiddle, harking back to early recordings by The Chieftains.

Mick takes the first of two solos on his own reel The Rolling Hills Of Brosna, with Michelle switching to piano to accompany him, and there's another of Mick's tunes in the set of jigs which follow. A couple of big old reels bring us to a delicate harp solo, Carolan's Eleanor Plunkett, stunningly arranged by Michelle, setting a very different tone from the gruesome story in the detailed sleeve notes. Melodeon and piano again for Mick's second solo, three reels ending with The Killavil to balance the earlier jig, and then it's Mick's turn to swap instruments and pick up the concertina for a fine set of jigs with Michelle on fiddle and Louise on pipes once more. The lovely Ríl Ar Lár, two more Crehan hornpipes, and a trio of jigs ending with Michelle's tune, Celia's Jig, all feature the Mulcahys' compelling combination of flute, concertina and accordion, as does the final set of reels: two virtuoso versions of well-known standards, the second with some unusual dynamics, leading into the gentle climax of The New Line To Loughaun. Nothing overstated, nothing too flashy (apart from the dresses) - The Reel Note is a snapshot of the Irish tradition, good tunes well played, by some of the best in the business. Alex Monaghan

www.folkradio.co.uk   Album ReviewsEditor's Picks

Mick, Louise & Michelle Mulcahy: The Reel Note CICD202
written by David Kidman 3 October, 2016

I first came across this family group on their 2006 album Notes From The Heart, a truly joyous piece of music-making that’s continued to give me pleasure still over the past decade. The intervening years have seen a further group album (Reelin’ In Tradition) and solo records by both Louise and Michelle, but the passage of time doesn’t appear to have dimmed the musicians’ playing one jot, for their latest release is simply one of the most sparkling tune-based albums you’re likely to hear. The keywords are vitality and togetherness – qualities their individual and collective musicianship has in spades. These attributes come with an easy familiarity that’s born of playing together for years – comfortable, yes, but by heck, is this comfort infectious, and the listener can’t help but be carried along!

The family team of father and two daughters hails from Abbeyfeale, Co. Limerick, and while some of their material continues to be rooted in the west Limerick and Sliabh Luachra styles, there’s representation from counties as far afield as Roscommon, Kerry, Sligo and Donegal, with a strong cross-pollination from other regions too, as might be expected from Mick, a master musician who’s moved around plying his trade (he spent a lot of time on the Camden scene in 1960s London, for instance). His daughters have clearly inherited Mick’s passion for making music, for their own playing shares that special combination of warmth and melodic flair which seemingly effortlessly offsets their undoubted virtuosity. Theirs is a virtuosity that doesn’t need to be proved or worn on the sleeve but just pours out with all the naturalness of speaking. And, unusually even among family groups, it’s a versatility that extends to several instruments apiece: Mick boxes clever on accordions, melodeon, and concertina, while Louise plays uilleann pipes and various flutes and Michelle excels on concertinas, fiddle, harp, and piano.

This flexibility enables them to constantly ring the changes with their skilled arrangements, not only in the obvious sense of varying the actual timbres on display but also in the sphere of role-switching. Perhaps my favourite of all the blends the family achieves is the concertina-pipes-fiddle combination, as on the vibrant set of jigs (track 10), but there are also delights aplenty in Michelle’s harp that both ripples through and underpins the texture as on the opening medley and the stirring set of hornpipes at track 3 (she also delivers a solo track, a finely graded reading of O’Carolan’s trusty Eleanor Plunkett). The uniformly strong character of Mick’s box-work is a signature of everything the group tackles, and yet there’s never a feeling that his box dominates unduly, even when he’s playing the dominant melody in tandem with Louise’s flute or Michelle’s concertina. Michelle moves to the piano for a number of tracks where she provides a graceful but firm accompaniment that ably underpins and enhances the animated melody parts. There’s no special pleading, no gimmicks, no studio tricks – just solid and unpretentious musicianship on a brilliantly chosen menu which sensibly takes in the “old masters” alongside more recently composed tunes (including one by Michelle and a couple by Mick himself). The booklet notes furnish detailed and enthusiastic expositions of the tunes’ sources, fully acknowledging the musicians and/or recordings from which they were learned.

Anyone seeking the kind of feelgood experience that a straight-up album of good honest Irish traditional music can bring, need look no further than this charming disc, for it delivers nothing less than “the reel thing” with The Reel Note. David Kidman

 

R2 Music Magazine  9/10.16

MICK, LOUISE & MICHELLE MULCAHY

* * * The Reel Note CICD202

Accordion player Mick Mulcahy is a veteran of the lrish folk scene. and a while ago he formed a trio with his two very talented daughters — Louise, who plays flute and uilleann pipes, and Michelle, who takes on concertina, harp, fiddle and piano. this appears to be their third album together and it's packed full at extremely well played tunes, about three quarters of which are Irish traditional and the others are composed in that style.

Essentially the album switches back and forth between jig and reel sets, with breaks for a couple of hornpipes. Two more restrained offerings have long been favourites - 'Planxty Davis' led by the pipes was once covered by Nic Jones, and 'Eleanor Plunkett' played here by Michelle on solo harp is one of those incredible O’Carolan tunes. In amongst the rest is a host of good tunes - it was great to hear ‘Old Hag You Have Killed Me‘ and recall The Bothy Band - and the musicianship is superb.

However, my ears found the largely upbeat tone rather relentless, and would have appreciated more changes at pace and even some song. But it you like gimmick free playing of Irish traditional tunes. The Reel Note has lots to commend it. Ian Croft

 

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