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IONTACH - A New Journey

IONTACH - A New Journey
Private Label IONCD179

The trio Iontach (the name, perhaps immodestly, embraces any shade from amazing to excellent!) is based in North Germany, and its line-up is international: Siobhán Kennedy from Dundalk, Nick Wiseman-Ellis from Norwich (East Anglia) and Jens Kommnick from Wremen. Their repertoire is similarly eclectic, and they certainly make the most of the flexibility and potential of their instrumental and vocal complement, relishing in enterprising juxtapositions of songs and tunes - as on the second track, which pairs the accomplished three-part a cappella love-song-cum-working-song, Amhrán Na Culginne, with well-loved tune The Milkmaid (aka Tommy Peoples), and track four, which brings together a lively fiddle tune by Dublin’s Ciara Ní Bhriain and an 18th century Northumbrian rant. The strength of Iontach’s combined vocals is again present on two further a cappella tracks, Steve Barnes’ evocative “song for Ireland” Green Among The Gold and Eric Bogle’s All The Fine Young Men; the former is followed by a glorious string-trio (two fiddles and a cello) arrangement of erstwhile-Dubliner John Sheahan’s stately sound-portrait, Saint Patrick’s Cathedral. Siobhán’s a very fine singer, and her lyrical account of Icelandic troubadour Svavar Knútur’s inspirational Humble Hymn is another exceptional track.

The basic Iontach instrumental line-up could be considered flute, accordion and piano, as heard on the opening track, but as the album progresses this combination is felt to be less representative as Jens’ exceptional, sensitive guitar playing becomes more of a signature sound and the trio blend is constantly being varied by the inclusion of fiddle, bouzouki and concertina, thus proving the versatility of the individual members. On the evidence of A New Journey, I hope to hear much more of Iontach.

David Kidman

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This album was reviewed in Issue 116 of The Living Tradition magazine.