Deep End of the Ford

An Táin No label ***

An TáinNo label ***

The tale of the Táin Bó Cuailgne, memorialised in the 12th-century Book of Leinster is invigorated by Cork singer Lorcan MacMathúna. Commissioned by the William Kennedy Piping Festival, this suite of 10 movements sounds primeval and its tone is haunting. MacMathúna's never been afraid to venture into the unknown, as his last project, Northern Lights, a melding of Irish and Norse sagas attested. The primal impulse firing Flaithrí Neff's pipes on the eighth movement, Caoineadh Fherdia, is the ideal foil for Lorcán's belly-deep vocal patterns. But make no mistake: this is not music for the casual listener. It demands repeated exposure to reach beneath its surface, such are the demands of its patterns. Skipping directly to Scread Ceann Sualtaim, with fiddle and bass clarinet propelling the story, offers a relatively accessible entry to another world: alien but intriguing.