With Special Guests:
Charlie Lennon: Piano, fiddle on 14
Be Lennon: Fiddle on 14
Garry O'Briain: Guitar
Noel O'Grady: Bouzouki
Brian Lennon: Flute & Low Whistle
Paul Roche: Whistle on 7
Leitrim fiddler player, Maurice Lennon, releases his first solo fiddle album. Keeping the tradition alive with his new album, The Little Ones
The Lennon family is well-known amongst lovers of Irish music. Maurice's father, Ben Lennon, is well-known as a master of the Leitrim style of traditional fiddle, and his uncle, Charlie Lennon is renowned as a composer, piano accompanist and fiddler. Maurice showed that this musical legacy had been passed on to him when, at age nineteen, he became the youngest person to win the Senior Fiddle Championship at the All-Ireland Fleadh Cheoil, held in Ennis in 1977.
Shortly after this he joined with three other All-Ireland Champions to form the band Stockton's Wing, with whom he composed, recorded and performed for the next twenty-seven years.
This CD is Maurice's first solo fiddle release, although he did feature on the Gael-Linn LP, An Fhidil 2, in 1977 with other young up-and-coming fiddlers such as Martin Hayes and Seamus Glackin, the LP, Aengus, with brothers Jackie and Tony Small and Garry O'Briain in 1978, and the CD, Within a Mile of Kilty, with fellow Leitrim fiddlers Brian Rooney, Seamus Quinn, John Gordon, Ben and Charlie Lennon in 2005.
The Road to Garrison:
The Gold Ring:
- Reels: The Road to Garrison/The Blackberry Blossom
- Jigs: The Road to Ballinakill/Bill Collins
- Reel: Gweebarra Bridge
- Jigs: Morrison's/Willie Coleman's
- Waltz & Reel: The Belltable/The Humours of Tulla
- Jigs: Carraroc/The Frost is All Over
- Air: The Little Ones
- Reels: Miss McLeod's/The Cup of Tea
- Air: A Letter Home
- Reels: Sheila Coyle's/Hughie Traver's
- Air: When Hope Dawns
- Jig: The Gold Ring
- Reel: Colonel Fraser's
- Air: If Ever You Were Mine
Maurice has spent much time in the last number of years in America playing music and coaching young musicians. "Passing on the tradition is incumbent on all of us who are lucky enough to have it," he said.
He coached a group of twenty young musicians from the United States of America to glory recently when they won the Senior Grupa Ceoil competition at Fleadh Cheoil na hEireann in Cavan in 2012.
Studio production is Maurice's latest past-time, recently working with the Westport vocal group CODA on an album which is soon to be released, and he worked with the Chicago—based singer, Kevin O'Donnell, on his new album, Deep is the Well.
Also featuring Maurice & The Lennon family: Within A Mile of Kilty
R2 Magazine Sept/Oct ****
The Lennon family is well known amongst lovers of Irish music. Maurice's father, Ben Lennon, is a master of the Leitrim style of fiddle, and his uncle, Charlie Lennon, is renowned as a composer, piano accompanist and fiddler. Maurice, who in 1997 was the youngest person to win Senior Fiddle at the All-Ireland Fleadh, was a founding member of the band Stockton's Wing, with which he composed, recorded and performed for twenty-seven years.
The Little Ones is Maurice's first solo ?ddle release and opens with a reel of his own composition, 'The Road To Garrison', the fiddle accompanied by Charlie Lennon's lovely rhythmic piano. Maurice is joined by father Ben and Uncle Charlie on 'The Belltable Waltz', written in the 1980s by Kieran Hanrahan and Maurice in the Ennis bar where Stockton's Wing rehearsed.
Maurice has a particular passion for encouraging young musicians, spending many years teaching and sharing music in America. His aptly named title track is a beautiful air written for his children. The fiddle and whistle are played with great sensitivity and emotion. Meanwhile, Ben and Charlie join Maurice on his 'lf Ever You Were Mine', the three harmony fiddles making a hauntingly beautiful finale to a splendid CD. Keith Whiddon
Maurice Lennon is one of the best fiddle players in the world, and none can argue it. His new album, The Little Ones, is just out on Clo Iar-Chonnacht to prove it. The label has been hot, hot, hot lately with a series of terrific releases, and this one is the capstone. There are 14 tunes here, all again reaffirming Maurice's place at the top. He is joined by many members of his incredibly musical family, the legendary Lennons. Charlie, Brian, and Ben all lend a hand and are ably assisted, especially by Garry O'Briain and Jim DeWan on guitar for two of the tracks. Reels, jigs, airs, and even a waltz fill the basket. In fact, the concluding tune on the album is Maurice's widely loved classic, If Ever You Were Mine. Anyone who loves his playing knows that Maurice has fought a debilitating, physical illness for a long time. Thank heavens that doesn't show here. He has never been better, and if music is what life is all about for a truly gifted musician, then Maurice Lennon is 100% cured. Good on him! If you know Maurice Lennon you probably already have this album. If you are not familiar with his work, this album will serve as both a beautiful introduction and a textbook as to how the Irish fiddle can be subtly, yet forcefully played. A master class, from a Master. Play on, Maurice! Bill Margeson
The Living Tradition
Time to admit to the ultimate sin of reviewers — bias (shock, horror!) I have yet to come across a CD on this label which didn't impress me mightily, so I was expecting high standards. Of course, I shouldn't have been bothered, as this is as good as it gets, but what would you expect from someone with the pedigree of Maurice Lennon? With father, Ben, a master of the Leitrim fiddle style and Uncle Charlie a composer, piano accompanist and fiddler of note, there was always a chance that Maurice would pick up a few tips here and there. His career, from Stockton's Wing onwards has proved that beyond all doubt.
This is Maurice's first solo fiddle release, recorded in the little spare time he gets from teaching and coaching musicians in the States, and is testimony to his craftsmanship. He plays viola as well as his beloved fiddle and is accompanied here by Charlie Lennon on piano, fiddle and viola; Noel O'Grady, bouzouki; Ben Lennon, fiddle, Garry Ó Briain, guitar; Paul Roche, whistle; Eamon McElholm, piano; and Jim DeWan, guitars.
Maurice's playing style is as crisp and clean as you could ask for, every nuance of every note making itself felt, whether in driving reels or sensitive slow airs. Here is a player completely at home with his material, bringing out all the feeling needed to properly empathise with the sentiments. Take a listen to the Miss McLeod's / The Cup of Tea set, where, by changing from the fiddle to the viola, Maurice brings a new freshness and vitality to two well-loved pieces without compromising any of their original feeling. A highly-recommended addition to anyone's music collection. Gordon Potter
The Irish Music Magazine 24/06/2013
Founder and fiddler with Stockton's Wing, one of the all-time great Irish bands in any idiom, Maurice Lennon has been out of the limelight for a while. His family is steeped in the Irish fiddle tradition - Charlie, Ben and other names spring to mind - and it's a great pleasure but no great surprise that Maurice has finally brought out a solo fiddle CD. I say solo, because that is very much the impression here: The Little Ones also features several accompanists, but they keep to the sidelines, leaving the fiddle (or sometimes viola) uncluttered. Maurice's playing is slightly understated, this is not a brash youngster's showcase, and I find his music all the more exceptional for that. This recording kicks off with a couple of reels, taken at a gentle canter, The Road to Garrison which is one of Maurice's own tunes and leads smoothly into The Blackberry Blossom . Jigs next, naturally, and I particularly like the jig sets throughout the album. The Road to Ballinakill and The Boys of Ballymoat are both challenging tunes, polished off perfectly with lovely clarity and sustain on the high notes. Later on there's an idiosyncratic version of Morrison's, a resonant viola rendition of The Frost is All Over , and a magnificent performance of the piping classic The Gold Ring .
Reels slightly outweigh the jigs, of course. The growling notes of Gweebarra Bridge on fiddle are outdone by the viola versions of Miss McLeod and The Cup of Tea . Maurice sticks firmly to the tradition for Sheila Coyle's, Hughie Travers' and Colonel Frazer's , grand old tunes every one. There are some modern tunes too, most of them Maurice's own stunning slow airs. The title track is a beauty, and When Hope Dawns is a moving melody with a touch of American melancholy. A Letter Home lightens the mood slightly, more whimsy that misery, reminiscent of the song My Heart is True . Fans of Stockton's Wing will be pleased at the inclusion of The Belltable Waltz , almost a signature tune. The final air If Ever You Were Mine is one I've known and loved for a long long time, without realising it was a Maurice Lennon composition. There are guest spots from Paul Roche and Brian Lennon on woodwind, Ben and Charlie on fiddles (John is unfortunately absent), and nice support on piano and guitars. But you might miss all that, and just focus on the warm rich music flowing from the fiddle of Maurice Lennon. He's always had the touch, and he clearly hasn't lost it. Alex Monaghan, Irish Music Magazine