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Traditional Irish Music on Flute, Fiddle and Concertina

CD MOO333

Catherine McEvoy, flute

Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh, fiddle

Mícheál Ó Raghallaigh, concertina

Three of Ireland's finest traditional soloists combine their talents to produce the first classic CD of 2010. This will become a much loved and oft imitated recording. Many players will derive great inspiration from this recording. The 3 soloists had just finished a grueling 5 week tour of Ireland and decided that music they made was worthy of making a CD and here it is. Just sit back and enjoy!

Audio

Reel with the Beryl:

Comb your hair and curl it:

The Road to Lisdoonvarna:

Track Listing

  1. Boys of the Lough, Devils of Dublin, Reel with the Beryl. Reels (3.40)
  2. The Foxhunters, Comb Your Hair and Curl It. Hop Jigs (1.32)
  3. Throw It Across the Road, Maid in the Cherry Tree, Jenny Picking Cockles. Reels (3.31)
  4. I Buried My Wife and Danced on Top of Her, Petticoat Loose. Jigs (2.52)
  5. Navvy on the Shore, Glen of Aherlow, Dublin Porter, Pinch of Snuff. Reels (4.51)
  6. Roosky Polka, McDonagh's. Polkas (3.01)
  7. The Tinkers Stick, Sunny Banks, The Virginia. Reels (3.41)
  8. Mrs Galvin's, The Legacy Jig. Jigs (2.49)
  9. An Buachaill Dreoite, Mairseail Ui Shuilleabhain. Hornpipe, Jig, March. (4.14)
  10. Cronin's, O'Keeffe's, Dawley's Delight. Slides (3.21)
  11. John Kelly's College Groves, Maids of Galway, The Templehouse. Reels (2.53)
  12. John O'Mahony's, Pride of the West, The Pullet That Wants the Cock. Jigs (4.00)
  13. Mary Brennan's Favourite, Follow Me Down to Carlow, Fowler on the Moor. Barndances (2,33)
  14. Larkin's Beehive, Road to Lisdoonvarna, The Dash to Portobello. Reels (3.20)

Previous recordings available from Copperplate

Catherine McEvoy

  • Traditional Music in the Roscommon/Sligo Tradition
  • The Home Ruler
  • Catherine & John McEvoy: The Lismore Fancy

Mícheál Ó Raghallaigh

  • The Nervous Man
  • Inside Out

with Providence:

  • Debut album
  • A Fig For A Kiss

Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh

  • with Mick O'Brien. Kitty Lie Over

 

Press Reviews

Earle Hitchner's Top 30 of 2010 in The Irish Echo, Ceol column.

# 3. COMB YOUR HAIR AND CURL IT by Catherine McEvoy, Caoimhin O Raghallaigh, and Micheal O Raghallaigh (self-issued): Individually, Birmingham-born flutist Catherine McEvoy (her parents came from Roscommon, and she lives in Meath now), Dublin-born, Kerry resident fiddler Caoimhin O Raghallaigh, and Dublin-born, Meath resident concertinist Micheal O Raghallaigh are towering talents, but on this album, the marvel is that they never compromise individual virtuosity to attain a fully complementary trio sound. At times their playing seems to reach too far beyond itself, with their creativity refusing any circumscription. But the trio's grasp is sure and confident, and that is the deep-dwelling source of the album's strength and sparkle. They have placed spirit above any restrictive notion of smoothness and, in the process, captured rapture. What a rare accomplishment and treat.

Powerhouse Trio Sets 'Hair' on Fire. McEvoy and O Raghallaighs Deliver One of the Year's Top Albums

CEOL

By Earle Hitchner

[Published on September 15, 2010, in the IRISH ECHO newspaper, New York City. Copyright (c) Earle Hitchner. All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission of author.]

The first tune change in the medley "Anderson's Reel / Carthy's / Sweeney's Dream" on "Noel Hill and Tony Linnane," the classic 1979 album made by concertinist Hill and fiddler Linnane with guests Matt Molloy on flute and Alec Finn on bouzouki, still sends a shiver up my spine. I interviewed Hill about how that masterwork recording was made, and he said they just caught fire in the studio.

Thirty-one years later, something similar must have happened to Birmingham-born flutist Catherine McEvoy (her parents came from Roscommon, and she lives in Meath now), Dublin-born, Kerry resident fiddler Caoimhin O Raghallaigh, and Dublin-born, Meath resident concertinist Micheal O Raghallaigh when they recorded "Comb Your Hair and Curl It." It's a stupendous album that does not compromise individual virtuosity to attain a fully complementary trio sound. Three masters of their instruments come together at their peak to play music that's invigorating and imaginative. At times their playing seems to reach too far beyond itself, their creativity refusing any circumscription, but the trio's grasp is sure and confident, and that is the deep-dwelling source of the album's strength and sparkle.

The credentials these three instrumentalists bring to the recording are impeccable. In 2008 Catherine McEvoy released her second solo CD, "The Home Ruler," which finished fourth in the Irish Echo's top ten albums list. Her fluid, rhythmic, roll-ornamented, beautifully phrased and paced flute work is rooted in the Sligo-Roscommon style and proves that freshness and liveliness need not rely on wildness and velocity. But on "Comb Your Hair and Curl It," she revels in the risk inclinations of her partners and shows that she, too, can ripple her style when the spirit moves her.

In 2001 "The Nervous Man," the solo debut of Micheal O Raghallaigh, was not only one of the finest albums of that year but also one of the greatest concertina recordings ever made. His follow-up solo CD in 2006, "Inside Out," was nearly as impressive, and his membership in such ensembles as Providence, Tain Ceili Band, and Naomh Padraig Ceili Band solidified his reputation as an excellent ensemble player.

Caoimhin O Raghallaigh, whom I saw perform recently at the Festival of World Cultures in Dun Laoghaire, collaborated with Dublin uilleann piper Mick O'Brien on "Kitty Lie Over," far and away the top trad album of 2003 and one of the best releases over the past seven years. Caoimhin is a master of what might be called the "in-between" on fiddle. An uncanny explorer of interstices, he can just as ably tuck in tantalizing notes as leave them out and let space or silence convey the mood. The fact that he tuned down the fiddle to fit better with Mick O'Brien's flat set of pipes on "Kitty Lie Over" is not, in itself, an explanation of their accomplishment together. That album's tempo is exemplary, the rhythm is pulsing and ripe, and the sound is as unfiltered as their originality. Caoimhin is a fascinating paradox: a deep thinker who disdains too much thinking as he performs. Along with Martin Hayes, he is the most technically advanced sensualist on fiddle in Irish traditional music today.

Of course, the formidable talents of Catherine McEvoy, Caoimhin O Raghallaigh, and Micheal O Raghallaigh could have resulted in a train wreck of insistent methodology, rigid temperaments, and clashing ideas. Not every all-star lineup translates into an all-star performance. But the respect each has for the others' skills has fostered a liberating, harmonious atmosphere in which chance-taking is encouraged. Consequently, there are no rounded corners, filed-off burrs, or unctuousness in the playing. The trio's music places spirit above any restrictive notion of smoothness.

Every one of the album's 14 tracks is superb. I can find no fault whatsoever in what I hear, nor would I be so foolish to try. Indulging in a game of "gotcha" with this album is like force-criticizing Bernini's "The Ecstasy of St. Teresa." And like that breathtaking sculpture in Rome's Santa Maria della Vittoria, "Comb Your Hair and Curl It" captures rapture.

The repertoire is fairly familiar, and there's no accompanying guitar, bouzouki, or piano. (This "backless" trend appears to be spreading among self-issued recordings, and not necessarily because of small budgets.) But the interlacing of the three melody instruments is done so compellingly that you never miss formal rhythm backing.

In the jigs "Throw it Across the Road / Maid in the Cherry Tree / Jenny Picking Cockles," concertina and fiddle ride on their own exquisite momentum, and Caoimhin in one passage plays fiddle in a granular lower register to set off Michael's lyrically driven concertina playing.

In the reels "Navvy on the Shore / Glen of Aherlow / Dublin Porter / Pinch of Snuff," Catherine's breathy style of flute playing literally breathes energy and pace into the medley, which is full of delicious ornamentation, piquant accents, and improvisatory flashes from all three instrumentalists. It is a fluid, cohesive, wholly absorbing performance, and no less riveting are the slides "Cronin's / O'Keeffe's / Dawley's Delight" and the jigs "John O'Mahony's / Pride of the West / The Pullet That Wants the Cock." In truth, every track is a favorite.

"Those who do not sometimes break the rules never transcend them," said Bernini. He could have been describing the achievement of "Comb Your Hair and Curl It." Utterly brilliant and passionate, this is a no-brainer top five album pick for 2010. Earle Kitchner

www.LiveIreland.com

Two years ago, flautist Catherine McEvoy was our Female Musican of the Year. Here she is with Micheal O'Raghallaigh on concertina and Caoimhin O'Raghallaigh on fiddle. The album is Comb Your Hair and Curl It, and it is perfect. Pure. Trad. Magic from three magicians. There is no album recently that we have listened to more. Just get it. You'll hear the real drop. Stunning. Bill Margeson

The Chicago Irish American News.

Two years ago, flautist Catherine McEvoy was our Female Musican of the Year. Here she is with Micheal O'Raghallaigh on concertina and Caoimhin O'Raghallaigh on fiddle. The album is Comb Your Hair and Curl It, and it is perfect. Pure. Trad. Magic from three magicians. There is no album recently that we have listened to more. Just get it. You'll hear the real drop. Stunning. Bill Margeson

Irish Music Magazine July 10

It's easy to see where the title for this CD came from. There's a touch of the pre-Raphaelites about Caoimhfn's appearance on the cover which probably made an instant connection with the cantering slip-jig on track two.

In their sombre jackets and open-collared shirts, the O'Raghaillaigh boys could have been photographed any time since knee-britches went out of fashion, and Catherine's little black number is equally timeless. But it's not just the appearance of these musicians which defies chronological categorisation: their playing is similarly classic and eternal. Flute, fiddle and concertina duck and dive through reels, jigs, slides, hornpipes, marches, barndances and polkas which would all have been familiar to Irish musicians of several previous generations. There are a couple of compositions from the mid twentieth century, but otherwise this is all old material. And who better to bring it alive than this trio of highly respected soloists from County Meath. Catherine is one of the finest flute-players around Dublin, in great demand as a teacher and performer. Micheal is acknowledged as an exceptional young concertinist with a couple of albums under his belt. Caoimhin had moved to the west coast of Ireland a few years ago, fallen in love with the pipes after a duet recording with Mick O'Brien, but he's apparently back home now and playing fiddle better than ever. You can hear immediately that these three fit perfectly together, the concertina pumping out The Boys of the Lough while flute variations weave around it and fiddle chords cut through the melody.

The music here is a feast of Irish tradition, with plenty of excitement to be had from these grand old tunes. / Buried My Wife and Danced On Top of Her changes dramatically into Petticoat Loose. A Chieftains favourite The Sunny Banks leaps out of a set of reels, the most striking version I've ever heard. Drag Her Round the Road opens a deep driving duet between the boys, its low octave melody enhanced by a concertina bass line which maintains its earthy growl through Maid in the Cherry Tree and Jenny Picking Cockles. Another duet becomes a trio as Catherine's flute tears into The Legacy Iig. Instruments are swapped in and out very effectively throughout this album, varying the sound without losing the mood. Catherine steps back again from a set of stomping slides including O'Keeffe's and Dawley's Delight, but the flute comes through strongly on the final three reels: Larkin's Beehive by Paddy O'Brien, The Road to Lisdoonvarna, and Sean Ryan's composition The Dash to Portobello.

All in all, this is a perfectly balanced recording and a splendid example of traditional duets and trios. Comb Your Hair and Curl It is certainly a highlight of 2010 for me. Alex Monaghan

Price: £13.99

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