Link to Living Tradition Homepage





Sleeve not available

This young couple have already achieved great things individually, including major awards and acclaimed recordings. This is their first duo album, but with any luck it won't be their last. Michael is a harpist from Monaghan, God's own county, and June is a fluter from Sligo. They're joined on some tracks by Fergal Scahill on guitar. The material on Draíocht is mostly off the beaten track, with many little-known tunes unearthed over several years, as well as four Rooney compositions.

Starting with a delightful jig which was previously recorded by the McKennas but isn't widely played, then a pair of jaunty hornpipes from Michael, the first real surprise is the graceful minuet Na Maithe Móra which is a masterpiece of composition and arrangement. Then it's June's turn to take the lead on two neglected reels, The Concert Reel and Salute to Baltimore. Three more of Michael's tunes follow, all from his Millennium Suite: a slightly bland slow air, and two very fine slip jigs. Michael and June ring the changes with solos and duets throughout the album, and the harp provides highly versatile accompaniment in these hands.

The second half of this recording is almost all-straight trad. There are a few old favourites like The Killavil Jig, The Graf Spee and The Shores of Lough Gowna. There are also some more surprises, all pleasant ones: Planxty Aisling O'Neill by Vincent Broderick, the reel Homage to Rooney written by Johnny Og Connolly for Brian Rooney, and the air An Bhuatais which sits beautifully on the harp. By the time you reach the end of Draíocht, you'll be captivated by the charming music of this young couple.

Alex Monaghan

Secure On-line mailorder service
Buy this CD online from The Listening Post
The Listening Post is the CD mailorder service of The Living Tradition magazine.
This album was reviewed in Issue 58 of The Living Tradition magazine.