Paddy NcEvoy on Piano
Steve Cooney: guitar
Joe Kennedy: bodhran
Catherine McEvoy is considered one of the best exponents of the Sligo - Roscommon style of flute playing and this, her third album, will do much to confirm her reputation as one of the most talented flute players in the country. Born to Irish parents, Catherine grew up surrounded by music in an Irish emigrant community in Birmingham. Her parents were from Roscommon and both were musicians; her father was a flute player and her mother a ballad singer, and so little wonder that both Catherine and her brother John developed a love for traditional Irish music. She has been described as a 'natural musician' and gives a wonderful display of her talents on this new album.
In his introduction to the CD the renowned fiddler Séamus Connolly describes Catherine's playing as bringing us 'back to a time when music was played more slowly, more gracefully and less frantically. Catherine's playing has a lift that is exciting, colourful and electrifying, coupled with unexpected variations, lovely tempo and phrasing. It is here that we truly have a master at work'. Catherine treats the listener to a wonderfully varied selection of music on The Home Ruler played on D, Eb and C flutes, including the beautiful slow air 'Bánchnoic Éireann Ó'. She is accompanied by a talented panel of musicians including her nephew Paddy McEvoy, the legendary Felix Dolan, Geraldine Cotter, Steve Cooney and Joe Kennedy.
Catherine lives in Ratoath, Co. Meath and teaches music locally as well as teaching at many of the annual traditional music summer schools such as Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy. She took part in a very successful Music Network Tour earlier this year with concertina player Micheál Ó Raghallaigh and fiddler Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh, and also plays regularly with her brother John McEvoy, a talented fiddler with whom she recorded the album The Kilmore Fancy in 2004. John also more recently recorded the album Pride of the West with Roscommon flute player John Wynne, released on the CIC label in 2007.
Catherine McEvoy is also featured on these CDs available from Copperplate
Catherine McEvoy: The Home Ruler
Catherine McEvoy, Caoimhin O'Rahallaigh & Micheal O'Raghallaigh: Comb Your Hair & Curl It
John McEvoy & friends: Irish Traditional Fiddle
John McEvoy & John Wynne: Pride of the West
The Ebb Tide:
Elizabeth Kelly's Favourite:
- Reels:Rolling In The Ryegrass / The Traveller
- Reels: McGovern's Favourite / Casagh Reel / Martin Ainsboro's
- HPs: The Home Ruler / The Ebb Tide
- Reels: The Drunken Landlady / The Rookery
- Slip Jigs: Elizabeth Kelly's Favourite / Follow Me Down to Limerick
- Reels: Sarah's Delight / Dermot Grogan's Farewell
- Jigls: Dominic's Farewell to Cashel / The Geevagh Jig
- Air: Bánchnoic Éireann Ó
- Reels: The Concert Reel / Forget Me Not
- Reels: The Hunter's Purse / Sweeney's Dream
- Jigs: Eddie Moloney's / Dancing at Kilbrew
- Reels: Cormac Lunney's / The Bag of Spuds
- Jigs: Big John's Hard Jig / Anthony Frawley's
- Reels: The Curskeagh Lasses / Billy Brocker's
- Reels: Major Moran's / The Mystery Reel
"With this exquisite recording, Catherine McEvoy has once again demonstrated that she is a musician with a musical gift and exceptional talent. This CD recording showcases the skill of a consummate and supreme performer who has a complete understanding ol her instrument and of the music she plays.
When Catherine asked me to write a few lines for the sleeve notes I was immediately transported to Birmingham, where Catherine grew up. In my memory I was once again visiting the house of Dr. Robert and Lillie Lawrie, home to the famous Birmingham Ceili Band of the 1970s. A home away from home for Irish musicians, it was the place to be to hear good music.
It was in Dr. Lawrie's house that I first met and heard Catherine playing.
Playing music with her friends Kathleen Lawrie and Celestine Boyle, Catherine McEvoy's high level of proficiency on the flute that afternoon thirty-six years ago has always stayed with me. (She also played the whistle and the piano.) I still treasure the recording of the music I heard that day.
Try to imagine one of many marathon musical sessions in Handsworth, Birmingham. Imagine further, if you will, a young teenager with long flowing hair, a radiant smile on her face,
sitting for hours with Josic McDermott and Cathal McConnell, playing reel after reel, jig after jig, stories being told and for good measure a few songs from Cathal and Josie.
Yes, that young woman was indeed Catherine McEvoy. W'hat a night of music and craic!
Such was the musical life of this voung prodigy Catherine McEvoy. Exposed to wonderful music early in her life, she heard and learned from some of the greats. While travelling to Ireland
on her summer holidays, she came to know and play music with other prominent and celebrated musicians while building on her already enormous repertoire.
The ever-humble Catherine asked me not to write about her accomplishments and awards, her All-Ireland titles. However, I am unable to resist mentioning the fact that after only six months practising and playing the piano-accordion she won an Under-14 All-Ireland Championship on that instrument. Soon afterwards Catherine became an accomplished flute player.
As Kathleen Lawrie recently told me, 'Catherine is a natural musician'. .After listening to this CD I know you will agree.
Catherine's performance on the CD speaks for itself! Creatively assisted by Felix Dolan, Geraldine Cotter, Joe Kennedy, Steve Cooney and her nephew Paddy McEvoy, her rendition of jigs, reels, hornpipes, slip jigs and an air brings us back to a time when music was played more slowly, more gracefully and less frantically. Catherine's playing has a lift that is exciting, colourful and electrifying, coupled with unexpected variations, lovely tempo and phrasing. It is here that we truly hear a master at work.
The years have passed so quickly since I first heard Catherine playing Irish music. Her playing now conveys the maturity of the masters who have gone before her. Her career as a musician and teacher takes her to many places around the world. Boston College was honoured when she taught and performed at the university during the Gaelic Roots Summer School.
Catherine has also taught at other festivals and events throughout North America including the Catskills Irish Music Week in upstate New York. And of course one can always hear and
meet her at the celebrated Willie Clancv Summer School in County Clare, where she teaches every year.
It has been a delight to tell you about Catherine McEvoy and her music. She is a wonderful person, loved by many and an unassuming musician who loves what she does.
'The Queen of the Concert Flute' is, I believe, a fitting accolade for this skilled and masterful artist. This CD recording will certainly reaffirm this well-deserved title.
Congratulations, Catherine, well done. You should be very proud"! Seamus Connolly: Sullivan Artist-in-Residcnce Boston College
THE LIVIES 2009
Female Musician of the Year: Catherine McEvoy: The Home Ruler
She is in Meath now, we believe. Saying Catherine McEvoy plays the wooden flute is like saying Pavarotti sang. This is the way the wooden flute is supposed to sound. She is, quite simply, a master of her instrument, and the leading exponent of the Roscommon style. She is just perfect. It doesn't hurt to have musicians the caliber of Felix Dolan and Geraldine Cotter accompanying her on piano. But, this is all about Catherine. A marvel. Our favorite is The Concert Reel/Forget Me Not. We think the secret is her tone. This is the way the wooden flute is meant to be played. The tone---soft, yet direct, clear. Gorgeous. Thank you, Catherine, from every Irish flute fan in the world. Bill Margeson
Catherine McEvoy is one of the best flute players we have heard in a long, long time. She is from Leitrim, we believe. Never mind all the titles she has won, and all that. She is a virtuoso, with an unequalled grasp of the tradition. The name of the album is The Home Ruler, after the iconic hornpipe of the same name. Teacher, musician, master of her instrument. If you love, really love, the pure tradition of the wooden flute, played along with the likes of the fabulous Geraldine Cotter on piano, or Felix Dolan on the keys, this is for you. A stunner. A wonder. Holy moley! It is on, of course, Clo Iar-Chonnachta. Rating: Four Harps. Bill Margeson
Irish Music Magazine
Almost a decade on from her last solo recording, Catherine is looking good and sounding better. Is the title is a reference to her Republican sympathies or her role in the McEvoy household? Those who have read John Brophy's interview with Catherine already know the answer. Either way 'The Home Ruler' demonstrates that this Birmingham-reared, Roscommon-style flute player is still one of the finest Dublin-based musicians.
There's a warmth and intimacy to this recording; an up-close feel that sometimes reveals the mechanics behind the magic (even the best players have to breathe!) but also shares every nudge and nuance of the performance: the cheeky sustained slide on F# in The Bag of Spuds', the inspired flutter across the octaves in the title track. As ever, the tempo and phrasing are world class.
Catherine's trusty Rudall & Rose flute is put aside for eleven tracks, to be replaced by three of Michael Grinter's instruments. The range of tones, from Eb to C, plus the four Rudall & Rose tracks, make this album a fascinating comparison of flute characteristics as well as a delightful fifty minutes of Irish music. On the earthy C flute, Catherine has a lovely touch and is in total command of the music: 'Elizabeth Kelly's Favourite' and 'Follow me Down to Limerick' are perfectly paced examples. The high Eb is heard to great effect on 'Major Moran's' and The Mystery Reel'. The opening track is one of my favourites, session tunes 'Rolling in the Ryegrass' and The Traveller' on her familiar Rudall & Rose. There's only one air here, the gorgeous 'Banchnoic Eireann O', played on the Grinter C.
Most of the material on The Home Ruler' is of long and ancient pedigree, but there's a handful of compositions by twentieth-century musicians and Catherine has included three of her own tunes. 'Dancing at Kilbrew' is a charming jig named for a place just round the corner from Catherine's house in Meath. 'Dermot Grogan's Farewell' and The Curskeagh Lasses' are both powerful reels. Catherine is joined on piano by Felix Dolan as usual, and also by Geraldine Cotter and nephew Paddy McEvoy. Steve Cooney plays guitar on a few tracks, and Joe Kennedy provide just the right amount of rhythm on the old Irish frame drum, played in that old style that is so well suited to working with the flute. Highly recommended. Alex Monaghan