Link to Living Tradition Homepage






Private Label  GHCD001

Far from a newcomer, Gerry Harrington has been recording for almost two decades with names like Eoghan O'Sullivan, Nancy Conescu, Charlie Piggott and even the legendary Peter Horan, but this is his solo debut. Whether you take the title as a belated celebration of his return to Irish shores, or as an indication of his comfortable relaxed style, or even as a formal invitation to spend time with this exceptional musician, At Home is a welcome addition to the list of Irish fiddle CDs. Indeed, so sweet is the sound on this recording that it was track four before I realised that there is absolutely no accompaniment.

Reared in the traditions of County Kerry, Harrington plays with a simplicity and economy of style which is quite different from the flamboyance of fiddlers from further north. His opening variations on Gallagher's Jig show touches of the flowing Clare style, and there is sparing use of double stopping and ringing strings on Timmy O'Connor's Slides, but mostly Gerry's music sticks to the unadorned melody line, concentrating on the lilt and jog of the tune. "Simple" is not the right word, because copying it would not be a simple matter, but there is a childlike purity to this style. The great Sliabh Luachra fiddlers Denis Murphy and Padraig O'Keeffe had a similar uncluttered approach to the music, although many of their recordings show they were capable of a more embellished style. Harrington is at least as well travelled as these illustrious forerunners, so his adherence to the Kerry style is a conscious choice.

Whether it's Tom Billy Murphy's jaunty version of the well known Madam Bonaparte or Padraig O'Keeffe's haunting slow air The Banks Of The Danube, Gerry Harrington does full justice to musical treasures of the North Kerry tradition. His fiddling ranges further afield too, embracing several Coleman tunes, The Graf Spey from Scotland via Donegal, the Upperchurch Polkas from Tipperary, and a fine hornpipe by the late Ed Reavy from County Cavan. Harrington's notes are copious, almost every tune comes with a tale attached, informative and entertaining. As well as many more melodies from Kerry and Sliabh Luachra in particular, Gerry throws in some very respectable compositions of his own. There's really not much more a solo fiddler could add: with well over an hour of absorbing music, At Home scores highly for both quality and quantity.

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 92 of The Living Tradition magazine.