Moynihan: Black Brook - Precise playing on one of the best albums of the year

Sublime collection from sibling trio on pipes, fiddle, guitar and voice

This is a remarkable collection from a sibling trio who bring brio and bravado, equalled only by a shared precision in their playing, to an eclectic selection of songs and tunes. Piper Diarmaid, fiddle player and singer Deirdre and guitarist, bouzouki player and percussionist Donncha have between them a long history of creating highly original music (with Deirdre enjoying a successful parallel career as a soprano).

Black Brook takes its name from a tributory of the river Lee, and it embraces within its course a deeply excavated collection of ancient tunes and songs alongside tunes from such composers as Paddy O’Brien and Ed Reavy. There are a number of spellbinding original compositions from each of the three Moynihans themselves. And in the midst of the fray lies a deliciously delicate reading of Richard Thompson’s Farewell farewell, with additional vocals from Liam Ó Maonlaí.

The opening song, Aird Uí Chuain, conjures a pitch-perfect baroque world that shimmers against a backdrop of bouzouki, pipes, fiddle and piano, with Ó Maonlaí's vocals interwoven with Deirdre Moynihan’s. While this collection mines the depths of the tradition with equal parts grace and danger, it also impishly plays with tempo on the transposed jig set The Lads of Laois/The Explorer/Miss McCleods.

These are three musicians reaching skywards on one of the albums of the year.

Black Brook
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Artist: Moynihan
Genre: Traditional
Label: Independent Release
Siobhán Long

Siobhán Long

Siobhán Long, a contributor to The Irish Times, writes about traditional music and the wider arts