Martin Hayes & Brooklyn Rider – The Butterfly review: Masterclass in risk-taking

Fri, Aug 9, 2019, 05:00

   
 

Album:
The Butterfly

Artist:
Martin Hayes & Brooklyn Rider

Label:
251 Records

Genre:
Traditional

Celebrating the elemental qualities inherent in our musical tradition, this collaboration between east Clare fiddle player, Martin Hayes and Brooklyn Rider, (aptly described as an “omnivorous” string quartet by 251 Records) is a masterclass in risk-taking and at the same time an unapologetic doffing of their collective caps to the seemingly simple tunes that form the backbone of most early traditional musicians’ repertoires.

The Butterfly, one of the linchpins of our tradition, finds itself woven into a stringed experiment of almost Schoenberg proportions, replete with muted dissonance and foreboding that one would never have dreamed could characterise this most delicate and sociable of tunes. And yet it works: boldly, gloriously even.

Recorded in 2016, this collaboration presaged some of what has since evolved with The Martin Hayes Quartet, but the spirit of adventure at the heart of Brooklyn Rider and Hayes’ relationship is one of a kind.

Port na bPúcaí (fittingly) basks in the deep hues which one fiddle, three violins and a cello bring to it, while Hayes’ own Maghera Mountain swoops and soars with a sprightly delight.

A collection best savoured slowly, again and again.