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Appel Rekords APR1393 

Detached is a representation of the musical ideas of David Munnelly and Ies Muller. This CD, recorded in December 2018 combining a Dutch flautist and an Irish accordionist (initially nicknamed the Bullet from Belmullet) crosses a mix of material mainly from the Irish and Breton canons.

The Dave Munnelly accordion sound is unmistakably his; he is an absolute master of the instrument, displaying a deep respect for the accordion players who have gone before him. Ies Muller came into contact with Irish and Breton music and the sounds of the wooden flute while travelling in Ireland, Spain, Scotland and Brittany, and he has since absorbed a repertoire that developed his initial fascination. Showcasing these major talents together is the aim of Detached. The air of musical deconstruction remains intact, right down to the album’s intriguing cover art of a melodeon being dismantled and a flute atop equally broken. However, this is not deconstruction simply for the sake of it, but rather a genuine effort at forming a cohesive musical unity.

The material derives from both musicians’ individual endeavours including Munnelly’s delectation for 1920s tunes in the form of some barndances, some new and old reels, and a Breton air. The balance between up-tempo material and quieter, more pastoral sounds is kept well and provides a welcome contrast where we can appreciate the individual styles and approaches of both collaborators. While traditional Irish music remains the duo’s most important basis, their own interpretations display a combined understanding of and affection for the nuances of Breton music, jazz and classical motifs. Together, they play music that sparkles with energy and life, yet they also know when to lay back and let the melodic leads flourish. The musicians play with a respect for the music and a tangible passion, making Detached an artistic double whammy!

John O’Regan


This review appeared in Issue 133 of The Living Tradition magazine