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BRIAN HUGHES - The Beat Of The Breath

BRIAN HUGHES - The Beat Of The Breath
Clo Iar Connachta CICD192

Brian Hughes’ debut album Whistle Stop announced the arrival of an accomplished new Irish music talent. While individualist whistle players like Mary Bergin, Sean Ryan and the late Donnchadh O’Briain had all made considerable marks with their debut releases, some attaining mythic proportions, new names were coming among them, like Brian Hughes. From Athy, Co. Kildare, he has made a name as a performer and music teacher frequently found in Summer Schools where he teaches the tin whistle. He has recorded three solo albums, of which The Beat Of The Breath is the most recent.

Initially his music had no lack of technical flair and ability but it failed to create a stylistic unity and individual identity. The good news is that two albums on, Brian Hughes’ music emerges confident and personally stylistic. The fluency is still there but there is a sense of empowerment within the music previously unknown. The opening reels, The Maple Leaf, set forth with a tune composed by fellow whistler Darach De Brun and the tune’s nuances roll in unison through a high speed work out. Slower paced slip jigs and hornpipes reveal a laid back gentleness with spacious breathy workouts that allow the tunes to reveal their essence. His jigs, Paidin O’Rafferty, find him creating an individual slant recalling some Mary Bergin and Sean Ryan references, but the bulk of the influence is his own. Slow airs like an epic Taimse Im Chodladh and Slan Le Maigh allow a pensive glance at the music’s emotional power. There is a presence within his playing that signifies the blossoming and growth of a talent infrequently seen and less heard. With sparing accompaniments The Beat Of The Breath highlights the development inherent in Brian Hughes’ music and is a seriously good collection.

John O'Regan

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This album was reviewed in Issue 97 of The Living Tradition magazine.