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Private Label NW1610/1

With teaching experience at the Association Irlandaise de Paris and being two parts of French ‘Irish traditional music’ quartet A Fig For a Kiss (with Sophie Bardou, violin, and Samuel Gaulthier, concertina), Jean-Christophe Girard (transverse wood flute, tin-whistle) and Antoine Leclercq (guitar) are clearly virtuoso players as is instantly audible from the opening bars of this exquisite display of graceful duo interplay.

Over 10 tracks, Turlough O’Carolan’s Mr. O’Connor and nine carefully crafted instrumental sets, they interweave arrangements of traditional material with their own pieces and contemporary compositions by Liz Carroll (Out On The Road, The Ghost), Colin Farrell (The Mouse In The Kitchen), metal transverse flautist Joanie Madden (Nuala’s Bonnet), violinist Michel Ferry (Return To Tchernobyl), and accordionists Paddy O’Brien (The Coming Of Spring) and John Brosnan (John Brosnan’s).

There are grouped sets of reels inspired by the repertoire of flautist Matt Molloy, polkas derived from Knocknagoshel (Kerry) and Jean-Christophe’s daughters’ soi-disant temperamental tendencies(!), waltzes (valses) from Danish revival musician Herluf Donslund and guitarist Roger Tallroth of Swedish group, Väsen, two ancient Scottish traditional airs from the Battlefield Band’s repertoire, and slip jigs finishing with the rather alarming and likely, literally, disarming The Night Before Larry Was Stretched, a traditional piece allegedly derived from an anonymous 18th century poem written in prison slang!

Recorded to a supreme standard at Sylvain Girardeau’s perfectly named Pitch Island Studios, the instruments are beautifully captured, the sylvan tones of the wood flute and the entirely empathetic guitar work equally entrancing in their aural allure.

Kevin T. Ward

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This album was reviewed in Issue 119 of The Living Tradition magazine.