Link to Living Tradition Homepage





EDEL FOX - Chords & Beryls

EDEL FOX - Chords & Beryls
Private Label  E&RCD002

West Clare concertina, honed by Atlantic winds which simplify the choice between music and badminton, and refined by generations of virtuosi right back to the evolution of hexagonal end-plates: Edel Fox is one of today's finest exponents, and this debut solo CD follows up an excellent duet album with Ronan O'Flaherty a few years ago. The title is an odd one - without the H it might describe Edel's outfit, without the Y it could refer to the musical devices of polyphony and ornamentation which are certainly features of the West Clare style. Whatever the meaning, Edel's playing is tastefully decorated with chords and birls - but never overdressed.

Reels and jigs are the staple fare here, though Edel adds a couple of set dances and hornpipes as well as two slower tracks. The Honeymoon, Lough Mountain and Love At The Endings immediately impress with their lively musicality, and Scatter The Mud underlines the vivacious character of Edel's playing. This is happy music, full of life, with a twinkle in the fingers. There's no shortage of skill or spirit either: The Victory Reel is rattled off at pace, and her change into The Luachrachán's Jig shows Edel hitting the reheat with practiced ease.

Loftus Jones and The Joyous Waltz decrease the tempo but not the lift. Edel is still flying high as she pumps new life into the Carolan air - even Kevin Burke could learn a thing or two here. Jackie Daly joins her for the Quebec waltz, and on two boxes it has all the power of a steam organ. This is the only track where Edel shares the melody line, but she makes good use of accompaniment on strings and percussion from some of the best in the business. The concertina must still take the credit for one of the most uplifting albums I've heard in a long time - revitalising Harvest Home and The Liverpool Hornpipe, rising to the challenge of King Of The Pipers, and finally putting her foot to the floor for The Knotted Chord with an H. This recording is likely to be on my list of favourites for a while - I hope it reaches yours too.

Alex Monaghan

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 88 of The Living Tradition magazine.