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VARIOUS ARTISTS The Fluteplayers of Roscommon, Vol. 1 Feadóg Mór Music

More of a documentary than an album, 'The Fluteplayers of Roscommon' brings together a dozen musicians representing three generations of Roscommon flute music. None of them are world famous, but the fact that they all come from this small area of Ireland makes their music both exceptional and fascinating. John Wynne, fluteplayer with Providence, is the man behind the project. Other familiar names here are Catherine McEvoy and Brian Duke. The older generation is represented by the likes of Patsy Hanly, a giant in the flute world, and John P Carty (father of fiddler and banjoman John Carty).

Some of these players are in their eighties now. The value of Pat Finn's rendition of 'Rolling n the Ryegrass', or Frank Jordan's version of 'Andy McGann's Jig' lies mainly in the view it gives us into the past, into the way the music was played sixty and more years ago. This is a very different picture from early commercial recordings by McKenna and Morrison, where time pressures and audience preferences were such that the music was often played unusually fast to uncoached piano accompaniment. If it's the stars of today or tomorrow that interest you, have a listen to Molly Bawn and 'The Kerry Reel' from Brian Duke. Formerly with Cían, Brian produces dazzling fingerwork and brilliant ornamentation. John Wynne and Catherine McEvoy are still at the top of their game, particularly on their 'Trim the Velvet' duet. John Carlos, John Kelly, and Bernard Flaherty are somewhere in between, with masterly touches on 'Adam and Eve' or 'The Mountain Top'.

'The Fluteplayers of Roscommon' is a warts-and-all recording, with little post-production: this is how fluteplayers really sound in the wild. There's a big thick wad of notes on flutes and players, and some appealing artwork too. We can expect Volume 2 at some point.

Alex Monaghan