Link to Living Tradition Homepage





SEAN BURROWS - Irish On The English 

SEAN BURROWS - Irish On The English 
Shed In The Sky Productions 

Subtitled Traditional Irish Tunes Played On Wheatstone Aeola 26954, the idea of an album of Irish music on an English concertina is not something encountered every day. Sean Burrows is a fine concertina player whose repertoire includes plenty of reels, jigs and polkas, all played with subtlety and skill, and this privately produced homemade album is as much a labour of love as it is a record of a musician whose stylistic ideas cross musical boundaries. While recorded to capture his sets to pass on to other musicians, the project has more than a curio appeal when looked at from a review context.

Irish traditional music when played on the concertina, whether solo, in a band or group setting, is mostly played on an Anglo concertina, so it is intriguing that here it is played on a Wheatstone Aeola 26954. One of many instruments originally built by Charles Wheatstone in 1829, its sonic differences give the music a sweet gliding feel, as opposed to the wheeze or draw of the Anglo model.

There is sweet warmth and intimacy from the playing that makes this collection, recorded in Sean’s kitchen, homely and welcoming. The music has a quiet charm; it is nicely rounded and unhurried, with polkas like Jimmy Doyle’s, reels like Sarah Kelly’s Delight and Rolling In The Barrel gliding and shimmering from his hands. The slow air and reel combination of Sliabh Na mBan, The Blacksmith’s and The Not Mells Reel excels, and Sean displays a quiet command of technique and versatility of repertoire. He is no slouch at penning his own tunes either, with six original tunes among the selected material.

To hear Irish On The English with Irish ears has been a sweetly enlightening experience. It is both enjoyable and eye-opening and proves that the middle ground where twin musical traditions meet is a very interesting and rewarding place.

John O’Regan


This review appeared in Issue 135 of The Living Tradition magazine