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James Carty: flute

John P. Carty: flute

John Carty: banjo, flute

Alec Finn: bouzouki, guitar

Francis Gaffney: guitar

John Blake: piano

Joe Kennedy: bodhran

I first heard James Carty's flute playing in London about 25 years ago now. From day one, James seemed to speak authoritatively with his own voice on that most personal and unique of all instruments. The Greek word 'psyche' can mean soul, spirit or breath; all vital components for a flute player. Well, James Carty brings all of these attributes to the fore in this superb recording.

Carty's prowess doesn't surprise me though. I first met his father John P, his brother John of course, and his uncle, Paddy Folan (RIP), about 30 years ago in London, all steeped in the tradition and playing exceptionally great music.

Anyone who knows James Carty personally will testify to his humour, lightness of spirit and integrity as a friend. As a musician, he has a rare humility that only the truly great possess. The saying, "Less is more" is prevalent in the visual arts. The same, it seems to me, applies to really good music. To borrow the words of the poet Tom Kettle, there is a "Secret Scripture", a kind of inner sanctum that traditional musicians instinctively recognise; James Carty's recording belongs there.

I hope that everyone who listens to "Upon my Soul" will enjoy the unique craftsmanship therein as much as I do. Michael Hynes Lisdoonvarna Co. Clare 2006


Down the Meadow:

Darby's Farewell:


Track Listing

  1. Hornpipe & Reel: Queen's Hornpipe / Down the Meadow
  2. Reels: Boys of the Lough / The Devils of Dublin
  3. Jigs: The Streamstown Jig / The Stolen Purse
  4. Flings: Kitty's Gone a Clinking Coming from the Fair / Pat Ward's
  5. Reels: Trip to Birmingham / Darby's Farewell
  6. Single Jig & Reel: Siney Crotty's / Piper's Broken Finger
  7. Reels: Sailor's Bonnet / Anderson's
  8. Barndance & Reel: John Towey's / Mulvihill's
  9. Reels: Major Moran's / Peg McGrath's
  10. Jigs: Bill Harte's / Connie the Soldier
  11. Reels: The Merry Harriers / The Hut in the Bog / Flowers of Red Hill
  12. Jigs: The Road to Rosroe / Tae in the Bog
  13. Reels: The Caucus / Peter Flanagan's

One of the positive aspects of emigration to London for me in the late 1970's was the introduction to a whole community of traditional musicians of extraordinary talent living there. Often, it was within family groups that the music was at its strongest, and their commitment to it under conditions that were not always that favourable seemed to me remarkable.

James Carty comes from such a family, and the distillation of generations of flute playing from the Connaught region is clearly evident in this recording. I was privileged to become a personal friend of James's family: his father John P, his mother Margaret, brother John, his sister Angela. Their collective contribution to Irish music over a long period has been outstanding.

This is James's first solo recording, and I think its significance lies in its difference, its change of direction for contemporary flute playing. I love the shorter phrasing, so typical of the older flute playing of Connaught, and now so rare in flute recordings of today. That is not to say that this is archive music, or an attempt to recreate an old style; for it is obvious that there is much that is creative in his treatment of the old favourites, such as the Boys of the Lough or the compositions of Josie McDermott. To breathe new life into old music is certainly a gift - a gift that James has in abundance.

As ever, the accompaniment of musicians Alec Finn, Francis Gaffney and John Blake is very much in keeping with the spirit of this music. Tried and tested on many a recording, the contributions of these brilliant musicians to Irish music generally speaks for itself. Finally, I would like to draw attention to the bodhran playing of Boyle man, Joe Kennedy. Especially suited to the flute, the sound of the hand-struck bodhran, in itself something of a rarity these days, gives an authentic ring to this recording, especially in the hands of a player such as Joe. Beware of imitations. Gregory Daly Kesh July 2006

James Carty was born in London in 1969 into an extremely musical family:-. John P, his father plays mainly the flute but can also turn his hand to the fiddle, banjo and other instruments, his; mother, Margaret Folan, herself came from a family steeped in Irish traditional music and his older brother is the renown fiddle and banjo player, John Carty. With such a pedigree behind him it was inevitable James would become a musician himself.

The flute is his chosen instrument and he plays with a very distinctive almost ancient style that belies his years. James has become one of the mainstays of the session scene in London and his session in the Auld Triangle is the first port of call to many visiting musicians. James' animated and vivacious playing demeanour is guaranteed to set any musical scene alive and he is a most welcome visitor at any sessions he visits, particularly in his father's home county of Roscommon

This is James' first solo recording although he has featured on many recordings to date including playing a flute and fiddle duet with brother, John on John's album At It Again, and he also appears with fellow London residents Liam Farrell and Joe Whelan on They Sailed, Away From Dublin Bay.

James is also a founding member of the All-Britain senior champions: The Auld Triangle Ceili Band,

James is also featured on They Sailed Away from Dublin Bay alongside Liam Farrell and Joe Whelan

Press Reviews

James Carty is an excellent flute player whose skills rival that of his better-known brother, banjo and fiddle player John Carty. Another side of James' music which immediately reminded me of his brother's playing is his seemingly off-the-cuff, completely relaxed, yet extraordinarily creative approach to traditional tunes. Although this is James' very first solo recording, we are definitely listening to a mature player, with a great sense for balancing creative expression with traditional style in a naturally tasteful manner. This is very much flute music, encompassing some of the great titles of the Sligo-Roscommon tradition, along with a few judiciously picked newer tunes, like the Josie McDermott compositions or Jean Duval's "Caucus" reel. On one lovely track of reels, James is joined by his father John P, and his brother John, both on flute as well, demonstrating the strong connection between musical heritage and family ties. Sparse accompaniments, including Joe Kennedy's hand-struck bodhran, enhance the music just so. This will be at the top of the list of "must-haves" for lovers of Irish flute music for years to come. (3/2007) Rating: ****

Price: £13.99

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