Link to Living Tradition Homepage






Clo Iar Chonnachta CICD189

This debut release by multi-instrumentalist Michelle Mulcahy is a consummately confident recording of solo harp work.

Evidently steeped in the Irish tradition, Michelle has cleverly scored and segued sets of reels, jigs and hornpipes into a mesmerising tapestry. Interwoven, for dynamic variation, are two airs, a self composed march (inspired by the plight of dispossessed refugees from the Karen community of Burma for whom the harp is culturally significant), and a beautifully executed version of the early 19th century O’Carolan’s Cup.

The wide array of traditional material has been sourced from various parts of Ireland. Its several attributions and associations with players (fiddle and concertina especially) and places, many of 20th century derivation, are scrupulously documented in an accompanying booklet. This genetic feel for the inheritance, bearing and transmission of music as a cultural phenomenon across the generations and its organic development is very evident. It’s well worthy, too, of Iarla Ó Lionaird’s passionate liner-note essay about the magic of the recordings with their “hidden language of our music, its aliveness, mystery and beauty…a delicacy and authority…[that] is enchanting.”

The playing is light and assured, very exact in its articulation, characterised by brightness, a ringing clarity, and rich detail in the treble and middle frequencies. There’s also a pleasing propulsive quality and good interplay between the higher melody parts and the bass backdrops in the dance music – the sequence involving Paddy Fahy’s and Martin Hayes’ The Shallow is particularly satisfying. The word suaimhneas communicates serenity and relaxation and this exquisitely presented music can, if you concentrate and lose yourself within it, permeate your soul.

Kevin T. Ward


Secure On-line mailorder service
Buy this CD online from The Listening Post
The Listening Post is the CD mailorder service of The Living Tradition magazine.
This album was reviewed in Issue 94 of The Living Tradition magazine.