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MOSSIE MARTIN - Humours Of Derrynacoosan  

MOSSIE MARTIN - Humours Of Derrynacoosan  
Private Label MM01 

A most enjoyable and refreshing CD, Humours Of Derrynacoosan is exactly that: a feast of local music in both content and style. North Connaught fiddler Mossie Martin has been on the scene for a while, playing and teaching, but this is his debut album and on it he's gathered a few family members as well as a fine accompanist in John Blake. Most of this recording is Mossie solo with guitar or piano backing: fiddle on all but one track, and tin whistle on two, so there's a bit of technical wizardry going on.

Mossie opens with two of his own jigs, the low earthy Susan Sweeney's and the brighter title tune, both tempting melodies. Two McKenna barndances follow, spry and cheerful, evoking the early days of Irish American recordings. Shane Meehan's Visit To Crouch End fronts up a rake of reels, showcasing Mossie's crisp fiddle technique, a distinctive take on the Sligo style. There's harp on Michael Rooney's Planxty MacClancy and Carolan's Mr O'Connor, celebrating a local lad. There's a waltz version of The Moving Clouds from Donegal, and a cheeky new jig by Longford fiddler Seamus Thompson with a surprisingly traditional name, The Long Mile. There are slides and polkas - not Kerry polkas, but North Connaught polkas which are completely different apparently, more hops or less butter or some such.

Every selection here is played with a sensitivity and spark which shows appreciation of the local tradition: the Martin family band rendition of The Teetotaller and St Anne's Reel brings real joy to two tunes which are often a chore. With informative notes and several lovely photographs, this is a very polished piece of work. Humours Of Derrynacoosan ends with three delightfully driven slides, closing out an hour of spirited and superbly talented playing, one of the best Irish CDs of 2019. 

Alex Monaghan


This review appeared in Issue 131 of The Living Tradition magazine