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FRANKIE GAVIN, MALACHY BOURKE, BRIAN BOURKE - The Masterís Return: A Tribute To Paddy Killoran

FRANKIE GAVIN, MALACHY BOURKE, BRIAN BOURKE - The Masterís Return: A Tribute To Paddy Killoran
Ergodos ER19

This album places pure, unadulterated fiddle playing at the fore - and rightly so. Frankie Gavin, who really needs no introduction as virtuoso and influential fiddle player and co-founder of Dé Danann, plays alongside Malachy Bourke and Brian Bourke (father and son, who play fiddle and bodhran respectively) on what is called “a tribute to Paddy Killoran”.

The first few tracks were a joy to listen to – reels, jigs and even barndances, played simply, but with great skill on two fiddles. The lively, punchy and quick tempo of the tracks really stands out – reflective of Killoran’s inquisitive and quirky style. In fact, throughout the album, the intertwinement of the fiddles really catches the sense of Killoran’s sense of musical movement across the tunes – incorporating melodies, double stopping, defined and powerful ornamentation. Gradually, the accompaniment from bodhrán begins to take flight, building subtly but skillfully with each track, and by the end you are left with a wholesome sound. You can tell these are musicians who are comfortable playing with each other, but not scared to pack a few punches in the tunes.

It was particularly refreshing to hear classics like The Scotchman Over The Border and The Tenpenny Bit, along with hornpipes such as The Harvest Home and The Derry Hornpipe. In the midst of a time in traditional music where there are so many newly-composed tunes, experimentations and permutations of styles and genres to make artistes and bands stand out as different, The Master’s Return is a refreshing and reassuring collection of authentic tunes, played incredibly well, and shows that sometimes this is all you need to make a mark.

Traditional music has waited a while for a CD of this calibre – one which is at once a tribute and a benchmark of fiddle playing, but which shows good tunes can still have currency if they are played with verve, vigour and with the true sentiment of the composer.

Fran Morton

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This album was reviewed in Issue 112 of The Living Tradition magazine.