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Hobgoblin Records HOBCD1015

This debut album is a collection of traditional pieces and one self-composed tune by Jacquelyn Hynes herself, played on a variety of silver and wooden flutes (hence the title of the album), accompanied by numerous instruments such as banjo, fiddle, bouzouki, guitar, cajon, bodhran and vocals.

The choice of tunes on this album stem from recognisable traditional sources such as Margaret Barry, Josie McDermott and Micho Russell. However the style of flute playing and the unusual arrangements throughout the album are not as convincingly traditional. Much of the ornamentation could be refined and perfected to closer resemble stylistic and technical elements of flute playing; in addition, the rhythm and dynamic of the tunes isn’t as punchy as it could be given the combinations of tunes and instruments.

The version of She Moved Through The Fair, which lasts a long 8 minutes 56 seconds, only introduces vocals at around four minutes in and consists of much ad lib flute phrases before that, which for me, seems quite self-indulgent. This and the Greensleeves track which features spoken voice, don’t sit comfortably in the traditional canon. The flute playing on these tracks is very breathy, highly vibrato and very airy and they almost seem like tracks that might be used in a meditation class rather than on an album of traditional music with sweet tone and ornamentation of Irish flute playing.

Some of the vocals by Hynes and Eoin are very enjoyable - reminiscent of classic English folk singing, with a nice pace and rhythm, and there is some solid fiddle and guitar playing on the album. However I think Hynes could have concentrated more on technique and style in her playing, keeping in touch with some of the traditional tunes she has chosen, rather than focusing on offbeat arrangements and creating a mood somewhat off track from the traditional feel.

Frances Morton

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This album was reviewed in Issue 103 of The Living Tradition magazine.