Solo album from the pianist and driving force behind the current All Ireland Champions, The Ennis Ceili Band who some years ago was a member of a very young traditional group called, Turas produced an excellent album and one of its more appealing features was the playing of the piano-driver. This was Padraic O'Reilly, and here he presents us with his own album, a mature work of near-genius. He is joined by, among others, the great young fiddle player Liam O'Connor and many other leading young turks to create a brilliant album of many styles and shades, all very musical and very interesting. I think everyone needs to hear this.
Copperplate is very proud to have this title on our roster and to help it achieve its full potential will be supporting this release with a full-scale promotional mail out to media and retail.
Fiddle. Liam O'Connor, Carmel O'Dea
Flute. Garry Shannon, Ronan Ryan
Accordion. Damien O'Reilly
Guitar/ Saxophone. John Blake
Bodhran. Tristan Rosenstock
An Seanduine Doite:
Bruach na Carraige Bana:
The Drunken Sailor:
- The Land of Sunshine
- An Seanduine Doite
- Aherlow's Morning Star
- Brauch na Carraige Baine
- The Monaghan Set
- The Stack of Oats
- The Gold Ring
- The Drunken Sailor
- Madame Bonaparte
- Anade par Gael
- Down the Ivory Stairs
- The Raveled Hank of Yarn
The Irish Music Review.
Padraic O'Reilly's piano CD is a breath of fresh air. Seán Quinn
Taplas, The Welsh Folk Magazine. Oct/ Nov 2003
Padraic O'Reilly's CD has been available in Ireland for a couple of years now, but distributors Copperplate have launched it in the UK. Padraic was a member of the young Clare quartet Turas and is also a fine bouzouki player, but this outing showcases his amazing piano playing. Guests include fiddler Liam O'Connor, guitarist John Blake and flute player Gary Shannon, Sharon's brother.
The Irish World Review 8/8/03
DOWN the Ivory Stairs is a CD, which has set out with the idea of recording traditional Irish songs on the piano.
It was a huge feat considering that the piano is really a recent acquisition to the Irish traditional musician family.
O'Reilly has risen to the challenge admirably and Down the Ivory Stairs is the excellent 12-track result.
Originally from Corofin, Co. Clare, O'Reilly has the talent to carry this CD off and also, obviously, the traditional knowledge to make it work. Garry Shannon on flute, Liam O'Connor and Carmel O'Dea on fiddle and Damien O'Reilly on accordion are literally instrumental to making the album work.
The album seamlessly sweeps through reels, jigs and hornpipes and all the traditions of Co. Clare. The title track is actually O'Reilly's own composition and is designed to evoke memories of childhood.
If you recognise O'Reilly's name, it might be because he was the founding member of the group, Tturas. The group released their debut album of the same name in 1997 to huge critical acdaim. There's a little taster of the group at the end of this album with The Raveled Hank of Yam. Liam O'Connor and Ronan Ryan join him for this one and a rapturous ending to a stunning album. Xenia Poole
The Irish Post Review 23/8/03
Fine songs from the piano man THE pianist and driving force behind the current All-Ireland champions The Ennis Ceili Band has released a fine solo album. Padraig O'Reilly presents us with his own album, titled Down The Ivory Stairs,
He is joined by, among others, the great young fiddle player Liam O'Connor, winner of the young musician of the year 2002, and many other leading young many styles and shades, all very musical and interesting.
Padraig is director of the Corofin Traditional Festival, and is also
involved in the Fleadh Nua in Ennis, where his considerable production skills have been evident in their sell-out Glor Concerts.
He is highly sought after as a teacher and workshop tutor, and is leader of the Inis 6g Groups, who have won the U-18 All-Ireland Ceiti Band title in 2001, and finished runners-up in 2000 and 2002.
His U-15 Inis 6g Ceili Band have won two competitions in a row, in 2000 and 2001. Padraig also tutors regularly for the MA in Traditional Music Performance Course in the University of Limerick. Joe Mullarkey
www.Pay The Reckoning.com July 2003
Similarly, many traditional fans will shy away from an album of piano music and we'd offer the same advice as above to those who would hesitate before giving O'Reilly's "Down The Ivory Stairs" a spin.
O'Reilly steps out of his role as leader of The Ennis to bring us an album of piano versions of some fine tunes. While his presence is always very felt in the ceili band setting, Down The Ivory Stairs presents O'Reilly with an opportunity to demonstrate his credentials as an interpreter of the music and as a technical virtuoso.
An inventive, even experimental(!) album, O'Reilly and co. (Tristan Rosenstock - bodhran; Liam O'Connor - fiddle; Carmel O'Dea - fiddle; Garry Shannon - flute; Ronan Ryan - flute; John Blake - guitar, saxophone; Damien O'Reilly - accordion) never stray so far from the path as to lose the listener. Occasionally, as O'Reilly himself predicts, the listener will raise an eyebrow at some of the more exotic interplay between the musicians. But few will find cause to ask for their money back. The occasional foray into terra nova apart, the musicians stick for the most part to the plot.
The sleeve notes suggest that Martin Hayes is a big influence on O'Reilly and there are, indeed, a good many similarities in their respective approaches. We would suggest, however, that the biggest similiarity between the two musicians is not their musical style. Rather O'Reilly and Hayes share a common belief in individuality, where respect for the tradition is blended with a desire to express something of their own spirit. Few players achieve such a marriage and where Hayes has succeeded, so too has O'Reilly.
Check out, for example, the opening reel set ("The Land Of Sunshine/Phil Cunningham's/Gan Ainm"), the first two tunes of which are O'Reilly's signature tunes. And as for that exotic interplay we mentioned, just give a listen to "Cathal McConnell's/The Monaghan Jig" and note how O'Reilly and Shannon in particular spark off each other! The jig set "The Ballycarroll Jig/The Blue Angel/Down The Ivory Stairs" (the final tune of which is O'Reilly's sole composition to date) is a corker and sees Blake dust off his saxophone to great effect.
The above notwithstanding, three tracks caused us to hit the replay button immediately. The "late night" set "The Drunken Sailor/Fair-Haired Molly" sizzles with excitement. Surprisingly, O'Reilly had never played the second tune until the night the set was recorded. Perhaps that novelty lends the track its edge. Whatever! An outstanding turn altogether.
On "Madame Bonaparte/Planxty O'Connor", O'Reilly gives one of Pay The Reckoning's tunes a pristine, personal treatment before tackling one of O'Carolan's more accessible pieces.
And the album's finale "Feargal O'Gara's/The Raveled Hank Of Yarn/Tilly Finn's" is a pure stormer. If the album opens with a bang, then it closes with a wallop!
Both albums are available through Alan O'Leary's mighty Copperplate empire, which can be reached at http://www.copperplatemailorder.com O'Reilly's home on the web is at http://www.irishpiano.com
And the Ennis Ceili Band have established themselves at http://www.ennisceiliband.com www.PayTheReckoning.com July 2003
Folking.com Web Site. 28.7.03
Padraic O'Reilly is a new name to me and I must firstly thank Alan O'Leary of Copperplate Distribution for drawing my attention to him. You see I get so many CDs for review that unfortunately I get saturated with too much music and if it weren't for the fact that I come across one that sticks out every now and then my life would be pretty tedious.
Anyhow, what of the music I hear you ask? Well, comparisons are bound to be drawn between Padraic and Michael O'Suilleabhain or Beryl Marriott those other great pioneers of traditional tunes played on the piano. I admit to enjoying this jazz-tinged style immensely as the tunes are presented with a lively and infectious quality that many other musicians could only ever hope to achieve. Each set is triplet happy (I suppose it's something you like or loath) although from a layman's point of view let's just say the sets are - for want of a better word - 'bubbly'.
On the opening track 'The Land Of Sunshine' I find the use keyboard strings somewhat incongruous and I would have thought that as he has at his disposal the Ennis Ceili Band fiddle players it would have been better to beef it up with the 'real thing'.
Occasionally some of the tracks where he does use other musicians appears a little heavy handed perhaps requiring the touch of say a Michael McGoldrick here and there. Still, it's a minor quibble on what is essentially an energetically controlled performance. If you're looking for something a little different try this album - you won't be disappointed! Pete Fyfe
Like for the guitar and the bouzouki, the piano's place among the instruments used by Irish musicians is one which has been acquired fairly recently and which remains controversial. Although the piano is primarily used as an accompaniment instrument, there have been a few players, the great Eleanor Kane Neary of Chicago for instance, who over the years have exploited its melodic possibilities. O'Reilly set out to do just that with an entire album of traditional tunes played on the piano, and the result is impressive, demonstrating the performer's thorough familiarity with the traditional idiom as well as his mastery of the keyboard. His playing is reminiscent of Micheal O'Suilleabhain's, but with a more straightforward approach to the music, more in keeping with the overall traditional style. Excellent musicians like Garry Shannon (flute), fiddle players Liam O'Connor and Carmel O'Dea, and Padraic's brother Damien on accordion, contribute to making this a thoroughly enjoyable album. Philippe Varlet. Rating: *** 1/2
Think Irish trad and pianos don't mix? Think again.
Padraic O'Reilly's 'Down the Ivory Stairs' takes the piano and shows it's just as relevant to Irish trad as the fiddle and the flute.
Often it seems like the piano and Irish trad don't mix. Like the guitar it is mostly just an optional, if not absolutely necessary, backing instrument to fill out the sound. Just as well then that Clareman Padraic O'Reilly has just gone and proved us wrong with this album which sees the piano taking over from the fiddle, uileann pipes and flute as instruments which Trad melodies
and music can be played.
'The Land of Sunshine' gets things off to an upbeat start and shows O'Reilly's intention of letting the piano do the main work on the music. It allows him remain true to the form and spirit of Irish trad and yet take time to slip in little unexpected twists that catch the ear.
'An Seanduine Doite' is a beautiful piece infused with a few Debussy/ambient like movements. This is also seen in the meditative slow air 'Bruach na Carraige Baine'.
While the piano is the predominant instrument throughout, O'Reilly allows space for other musicians to have their say. 'The Monaghan Set' is an epic piece that would put you in mind of a Gaelic chieftain's feast with fine contributions from Garry Shannon on flute, Carmel O'Dea on fiddle and Tristan Rosenstock on bodhran. While on 'The Drunken Sailor' Liam O'Connor's fiddle provides the main theme. And to finish off, all the talents are combined on the rollicking finale 'The Raveled Hank of Yarn'.
Down the Ivory Stairs' determination to prove the piano is more than just a rhythm instrument works. O'Reilly's playing allows the full vigour of Irish trad to shine through on the keys of his piano without ever descending into parlour type music or hackneyed Paddywhackery. But it is not surprising. Coming from Co. Clare only authenticity could come through on an album of Irish trad. Kernan Andrews
DOWN THE IVORY STAIRS. Padraic O'Reilly. RRCD 001. Some years ago a very young traditional group called Turas produced an excellent album and one of its more appealing features was the playing of the piano-driver.
This was Padraic O'Reilly, and here he presents us with his own album, a mature work of near-genius. He is joined by, among others, the great young fiddle Finbarr Boyle Padraic O'Reilly Biography
Padraic O'Reilly hails from Corofin in Co. Clare, the middle of three sons. Although still in his mid twenties, he has quickly developed a reputation as one of Ireland's leading traditional piano players, both as a soloist and accompanist. He was a founding member of the group Turas in 1996, and following their self titled album they were invited to the Washington Irish Folk Festival in 1997. He has also recorded with the American-based accordion player James Keane, as well as Garry Shannon and Feenish (PJ and Marcus Hernon).
His 2001 debut solo album "Down the Ivory Stairs" has been critically acclaimed, and was listed as one of the Top Ten Albums of 2001 by Aine Hensey on RTE's website. He has made numerous TV and radio appearances, the highlight being his ground-breaking piano quartet with Mícheál Ó'Súilleabháin, Geraldine Cotter and Caoimhín Vallely on the 2002 Rose of Tralee broadcast, which was beamed live via satellite to millions of viewers all over the world. He is leader of the Ennis Céilí Band, current All-Ireland 2-in-a-row champions, with whom he has recently cut a CD. He has also toured extensively with the Four Courts Céilí Band, and has also played with the Kilfenora and Tulla Céilí Bands. He has both classical and traditional training on the piano.
He is Director of the Corofin Traditional Festival, and is also heavily involved in the Fleadh Nua in Ennis, where his production skills have been evident in their sell-out Glór Concerts. He is highly sought after as a teacher and workshop tutor, and is leader of the Inis Óg Groups, who have won the U-18 All-Ireland Céilí Band title in 2001, and finished runners-up in 2000 and 2002. His U-15 Inis Óg Céilí Band have won a 2-in-a-row in 2000-2001. He tutors regularly for the MA in Traditional Music Performance Course in the University of Limerick.
2003 Ennis Céilí Band
2002 Feenish (PJ and Marcus Hernon, with Don Stiffe) Rabharta
2001 Padraic O'Reilly Down the Ivory Stairs
2000 Garry Shannon Loozin Air
2000 The Madden Brothers The Mason's Apron
1997 Turas Turas
1996 Ennis U-18 Ceili Band Over the Moor to Maggie