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PAT WALSH - Simply Whistle 

PAT WALSH - Simply Whistle 
Bunowen Music BUN001  

The humble tin whistle is often eclipsed by other instruments, or swapped for its stretch-limo cousin, so it's a pleasure to have an hour of this pint-size hero of Irish traditional music. Gone are the days when whistle players had to choose between a Generation D or a Clarke C - there are now more whistle makers than ever, from Australia to Alaska and back again. Manchester musician Pat Walsh has swapped her old custom-built (or "tweaked" to use the technical term) Generation D for Sindt whistles here, played in her local Irish sessions and around the world for many years, and Simply Whistle collects all that experience and learning onto a long-overdue album of Irish music old and new.

Pat has gathered some great accompanists here: guitarists John Doyle and Tim Edey, Pat O'Reilly on bouzouki, pianist Stephen Doherty, and multi-instrumentalist Mike McGoldrick who also produced this album. As well as 10 of her own compositions and a dozen by well-known traditional players, Ms Walsh has chosen almost a score of traditional favourites from slow airs to sprightly reels. There's a lovely interpretation of Seamus Ennis' Lark In The Morning, a jaunty pair of flings including Miss Galvin's, and a fine medley of the march, Fingal's Cave, plus two grand old reels, Sporting Paddy and Tie The Bonnet. Each track is taken at an unhurried pace, and the melody is enhanced by simple ornamentation. This style of playing recalls Micho Russell or Packie Byrne, nothing flash, just good music fondly delivered. There are good notes with each track, and a wealth of photos and background in the CD package, making Simply Whistle a fascinating album for those interested in the roots and branches of Irish music.

Alex Monaghan


This review appeared in Issue 136 of The Living Tradition magazine