Island Eddy is the debut album by the new band of the same name.
Featuring Brendan Larrissey (fiddle), Brian Duke (flute), Jim McKee (vocals, guitar) Martin Gavin (percussion).
Recently launched in Galway and released on the CI6 lar-Chonnachta label, the album features eight sets of tunes and four songs.
Ranging from newly composed to traditional favourites the tunes highlight the musicianship and solidity of Duke's flute and whistles and Larrissey's fiddle, viola and whistles.
McKee's contemporary vocals embrace the sentiment of the four self penned songs, which are influenced by his childhood memories and family background in Co Tyrone. Arranged beautifully to include the instruments of the tradition, and enhancing percussion.
Joined on the album by guest musicians; Arty McGlynn on guitars, Adrian Mantu on cello, Paul Johnson on bass, Bruno Staehelin on percussion and Carol Campbell on backing vocals. Island Eddy will be touring Ireland during the early part of 2008
Down the Meadow:
- Jigs: Castle Jig /The Nightingale (3.03)
- Reels: Larry Redican's / Leitrim Lilter (3.42)
- Song: Dignity Beyond the Flowers (3.31)
- HP& Two Jigs: Cuckoo's Nest / Cuigiu Lassies / Scatter the Mud (3.18)
- Waltz: Helen of Moy
- Song: Bradley (3.32)
- Reels: Father O'Grady's Trip to Bockagh/Limerick Lasses/The Mountain Top (3.21)
- Air & Reel: Guitar Island/ Matt Peoples's Reel (4.16)
- The World Around (4.50)
- March & Two Reels: Breton March / Molly Bhan / Dan Cleere's (3.34)
- Song: The Bomb Went Boom (3.23)
- Reels: Dinny O'Brien's / Bris an Fhuinneog / Farewell to Connaught (4.18)
Island Eddy was formed after a gig one night in Kinvara Community Hall by friends Brendan Larrissey, Jim McKee and Martin Gavin. The night went really well, and as Brendan and Jim were living in the area and kept meeting up, they sat down and decided that it would be a good idea to form a band that would be based locally in Kinvara. They were very interested in the idea of recording original songs and tunes.
Brendan and Brian Duke had already enjoyed playing many a tune in Ballaghadereen and Carrick-on-Shannon and, indeed, in Galway city. They found that the combination of fiddle and flute proved to be second to none.
Brendan and Martin have been friends for years and Martin's sensitive touch was just what was required to complete the line-up of the newly-founded Island Eddy. Between Jim's original songs and new tunes from Brendan and Brian, Island Eddy would like to build on the recording and performing of original pieces from Irish composers.
Brendan Larrissey comes from Dundalk, County Louth, and he has been living in Galway for nearly twenty years. In the late 1970s and early 1980s traditional Irish music flourished in Dundalk and Brendan enjoyed honing his musical skills in many sessions and fleadhs during that time.
In 1985 Brendan joined his first band, Gael Force, which was based in Galway. During the two following years, 1986 and 1987, he played with Dolores Keane and John Faulkner, touring Europe and Ireland, and he also recorded with Dolores and her two aunts, Rita and Sara.
In 1987 Brendan won the Senior Fiddle Championship and the following year he decided to become a full-time musician. In 1988 Brendan was a founding member of the award-winning band Arcady, which led to him touring worldwide - in the USA, Canada, Europe, Hong Kong and, of course, at home in Ireland.
He was also involved in the albums A Woman's Heart and Trad at Heart, to name but a few. Since then he has recorded two solo fiddle albums, A Flick of the Wrist and Up the Moy Road. He has been involved in running the first International Fiddle Festival in Ireland, runs his own fiddle school in Galway and has taught many All-Ireland champions to date. Brendan lives in Kinvara with his wife Helen and their four children, Clara, Hannah, Nessa and Conall.
Jim McKee is an artist and singer-songwriter who hails originally from Cookstown, County Tyrone; he has played guitar with many traditional bands. He has toured from time to time in Europe and America during the last ten years.
Jim was involved with the award-winning White Hare Band, based in Tyrone, with P. J. MacDonald, who is a virtuoso whistle player and singer and also with Brendan Henry, a fiddle player. The White Hare Band have done various BBC TV and radio recordings and have won the Danny Kyle Celtic Connections award. Two of Jim's original songs were used as soundtracks for two film productions. In recent times he has toured with Bridgestreet, a Galway-based band.
Jim is based in Bell Harbour in the Burren area of north Clare in the west of Ireland. He has written three new songs for this album that are based on his past experiences in the North of Ireland. Jim is also about to release his first solo album, Just a Piece of, which features Cathal Hayden from Four Men and a Dog, and Brendan O'Regan, who helped to produce the album. It also features string arrangements by Gary O'Briain. Details can be found on his website: www.iimmckee.ie
Brian Duke comes from County Roscommon, which is widely recognised as being the home of flute playing, and indeed Brian is one of the finest exponents of this flute-playing heritage. He has played at venues across the world and has recorded on many albums over the years.
Brian has played with various groups over the years, most notably the band Cian. Cian released two superb albums in the 1990s, Three Shouts from a Hill and The Rolling Wave. He can also be heard on the flute recording Flute Players of Roscommon.
Brian's style has been influenced by the playing of Matt Molloy and the discerning ear can hear this in his playing. He possesses his own unique style of playing, however, and displays a wonderful interpretation of music old and new.
Martin Gavin has a great love of east Galway music, and had the great pleasure of playing in sessions with Paddy Kelly, Paddy Carty and Jenny Cambell, and he still meets Paddy Fahy and Eddie Kelly now and again. He played with the band Talteralla and has also played on albums with Mary Staunton, lomar Barrett and Angelina Carberry.
There was a love for music in his mother's family: his grand-uncles Matt and Jim Callanan played with Vincent Brodrick, and his cousins Frank and Brendan Farrell played with the Kilreekil Ceili Band in the 1930s. He got his passion for the bodhran after listening to some of De Danann's early recordings, which included a bodhran solo by Johnny Ringo McDonagh. Martin now teaches the bodhran in Ballinasloe and Galway. At weekends Martin helps to encourage the next generation of young musicians to keep the music going through his involvement in the music pub Maud Millars in Ballinasloe.
Press ReviewsThe Living Tradition
The core of Island Eddy was formed after a gig at Kinvara Community Hall, Co Galway, by fiddler Brendan Larrissey (Gaelforce, Dolores Keane), guitarist/songwriter Jim McKee (White Hare Band, Bridgestreet) and bodhran player Martin Gavin (Talteralla, Mary Staunton), who thereafter swiftly recruited Roscommon flute player Brian Duke (with whom Brendan had already played many a tune!) to make an irresistible foursome.
The band's debut CD brings together eight sets of tunes (both original and traditional) and four songs penned by Jim. The general demeanour of Island Eddy's music-making is that of the easy, unhurried, calmly swinging session, where solid and thoroughly unassuming musicianship takes the place of frenzied seat-of-the-chair attention-grabbing note-spinning, and where the observer is invited to actively listen as well as tap feet. The opening set of jigs exemplifies the band's approach, and their trusty fiddle-and-flute combination is heard to best effect on the ensuing set of reels, where we can also enjoy the contours of Martin's gently passionate beating in sensible context. These musicians are all completely at ease and feel no need to prove themselves - that much is obvious on all of the instrumental tracks here, many of which reveal subtle delights on each successive play.
Some tracks also employ guest musicians on cello, double bass and extra percussion, and the darker eddying undercurrents of counterpoint thus provided give the music-making an intriguing new complexion that you don't tend to encounter in renditions of session-tunes, even on record. I'm not so readily convinced - at first, at any rate - by the four songs, however, for Jim's very contemporary-sounding vocal style really seems to belong elsewhere; but taken on their own terms outside the framework of the rest of this album these songs really do work their own special magic (and I'll also be interested to hear Jim's forthcoming solo CD Just A Piece Of). Some Dignity Beyond The Flowers, the first of the songs, is probably the most appealing on first acquaintance, drawing on childhood memories and the strength Jim himself drew from his father; Jim's edgy singing on the tale of his neighbour Bradley is acutely passionate, while there's a persuasive yearning quality to the homesickness of The World Around. Only with the tedious and rather casual musical setting of the final song (The Bomb Went Boom) does Jim seem at odds with his own material. The disc is well presented, with some fine booklet notes and attractive photos. On the evidence of this debut, Island Eddy clearly have potential, yet it remains to be seen in what direction it will best develop. David Kidman
Island Eddy, a new four-piece band based in the west, launched their self-titled debut on the Clo lar-Chonnachta label earlier this month. Comprising Dundalk fiddle player Brendan Larrissey (formerly of Arcady), guitarist and singer Jim McKee from Co Tyrone, Roscommon flute player Brian Duke and east Galway man Martin Gavin on bodhran, this fresh ensemble are to be commended for their session-like approach to tune playing and the highly stylised singing and arrangnents of McKee's four songs;
Kickng off with a pair of jigs, The Castle/The Nightingale the bands languid style is reminiscent of Kevin Burke and Michalel O'Domhnaill on their late 70s Mulligan albums. For some McKee's voice and songwriting might not immediatelv sit comfortably alongside the more traditional material