Brian Hughes: Whirlwind
with Donnchadh Gough, Nollaig Casey & Garry O'Briain, James Blennerhasset, Brendan O'Regan and Bruno Staehelin
Whirlwind is the new album from Brian Hughes, released on the Cló Iar-Chonnachta label. Brian Hughes is from Athy, Co. Kildare, and has established himself as one of the finest tin whistle players in the tradition, a fact confirmed by this album of vibrant whistle music. Brian's earliest introduction to music was through his grandfather Christy Bracken, a noted bagpiper, who transmitted his love of traditional music to his grandson. As well as tin whistle, Brian also has a great interest in the flute and uilleann pipes and was a regular visitor to the Pipers' Club in Henrietta Street, Dublin, in his youth. He has always been an avid collector of tunes both old and new, many of which sit comfortably alongside each other on this wonderfully varied album. Whirlwind is Brian's second album. His first album, Whistle Stop, was released on the Gael-Linn label in 1997.
The Eel in the Sink:
The Independent Hornpipe:
Rosemary Lane / The Kilavil Jig/ Doherty's Fancy
Grainne's Fancy / Alexander's Hornpipe
An Chearc is a hAl / Reel of Mullinavat
The Piper's Waltz / The Table Top Tumble
O'Keeffe's Polka /Terry Teahan's / Babes in the Wood
Touhy's / Man of Aran
Up Ya Boya / Paddy McMahon's / Miss Bruce
De Bharr na gCnoc
The Golden Keyboard / John McKenna's / The Eel In The Sink
The Rose in the Heather
The Independent Hornpipe / The Moving Pint / Brady's
Noirin Ni Riann's
O'Connell's / The Brosna Slide / O'Leary's Slide
Tear the Calico / Dispute at the Crossroads / Martin Wynne's
Also available from Copperplate Mail Order: Brian Hughes: The Beat of the Breath
Brian is joined on Whirlwind by guest musicians Garry O'Briain, Nollaig Casey, Brendan O'Regan, Donnchadh Gough (Danu), James Blennerhasset and Bruno Staehlin.
Copperplate is very proud to have this title on our roster and to help it achieve its full potential will be supporting this release with a full-scale promotional mail out to media and retail.
Press Reviews... "superb technique and a fine feel for the music. We'll be seeing more of Brian Hughes, and the sooner the better".
The Living Tradition (reviewing Whistle Stop)
The Folk Diary
Brian is from Co. Kildare and is known as a flute-player and uillean piper, but this album is devoted entirely to his playing of the simpler tin whistle and a lovely job he makes of it with some sparkling playing and a lovely fluid, liquid tone. He plays a wide variety of rhythms and we hear in play in quite a range of settings, but it is always the whistle that is well to the fore. His playing is at its most interesting when he is playing highly decorated slower items and the two airs, De Bharr na gCnoc and Nóirín Ní Riain's standing out.
In one sense, we can judge Brian's status by the company that he keeps, for some of the top names associated with Irish music are here in including Nollaig Casey, James Blennerhasset and the man who was also the album's producer, Garry O'Briain. Vic Smith.
Irish Music Magazine May 07
This is a lovely album of whistle tunes delivered by one of the sweetest players on the scene. Brian Hughes' first album "Whistlestop " was a revelation: his second is a confirmation. Sticking pretty much to the old Generation whistles in D and C, Brian effortlessly handles a wide range of Irish dance music from polkas to waltzes with a gorgeous tone and crisp fingerwork.
From "Rosemary Lane " to "The Eel in the Sink", Brian's jigs and reels sparkle like summer raindrops. "Alexander's Hornpipe "is one of three at a bright jaunty pace, showing this man's control and ability to improvise. "The Piper's Waltz " flows smoothly into "The Table-Top Tumble ", a charming Hughes composition. Trios of slides and polkas trip off Brian's tongue and fingers: "O'Keeffe's, CuzTeehan's, O'Connell's, O'Leary's ", all grand old names. "Tuohy's Reel " and "Man of Aran " are slowed down to a gentle stroll a la Lunasa.
Nollaig Casey and Brendan O'Regan add fiddle, mandolin and bouzouki to Brian's whistle on a few tracks. There's also percussion and upright bass, and varied accompaniment from Garry O'Briain throughout. The two slow airs on "Whirlwind " don't tempt Brian onto low whistles, but he does switch to a wooden Seery high D which gives a fuller tone in the low octave. "De Bharr Na gCnoc " is rarely heard, a simple song melody played straight and pure here.
"Noirin Ni Riain's" comes from the well-known singer's repertoire, another unusual air.
The wooden whistle is also featured on the final set of reels: "Rip the Calico, Dispute at the Crossroads ", and "Martin Wynne's ". And there you have it, a nicely rounded recording by an exceptional whistle player, well produced and packaged, with interesting notes and artwork. Alex Monaghan
We opened the mailer from one of the essential Irish labels, Clo-lar-Chonnacta. ALWAYS tasty stuff on this label. One of the best. Hmmm. A tin whistle album. Disappointment. Another whistle album? Really? Well, okay. On it goes. Stunned! Gobsmacked! This Brian Hughes out of Kildare has delivered a massive winner! Let's start with technique. Lots of whistle players have the technique. Great breath control is the problem. The god of breath control, and of whistling generally, is Mary Bergin. Well, make room for Brian Hughes! Of course, he is out of a musical family. Goes without saying. This album has a huge repertoire, and lots of styles. Such excellent musicians helping out! Nollaig Casey on fiddle. Garry O'Briain on guitar, mandocello and keyboards. Brian O'Regan (one of our favs) on mandolin and bouzouki. Bruno Staehelin on percussion, Donnchadh Gough on bodhran and James Blennerhasset on bass round it all out. Whistle albums, like harp albums, can get very, very boring---unless in the hands of a master. Brian Hughes is a master. Big league, all the way! Great, great. Hughes also plays the pipes. Wish he would have given us some more here. Ah, let's not get picky. This is one of the best whistle albums we have EVER heard. Get it! Title is 'Whirlwind', which also describes Brian's playing. We love this. Rating: Four Harps Bill Margeson