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Subtitled Irish Traditional Music From Doolin, this collection features fiddle and concertina duets from two of the many musicians who have come from far afield to make County Clare their home. Fiddler Jean-Baptiste Samzun is originally from Brittany and was brought up hearing the music of Ireland. Charles Monod comes from Switzerland and picked up Irish music as a young man, starting on the concertina in 2007. The pair spent a year together in 2018, listening and playing and recording Irish music, and decided to make an album before JB returned to Brittany. With the assistance of producer Jack Talty, Aughavinna captures the house sessions of Samzun and Monod and pays homage to the great music of West Clare in particular and the Irish tradition more widely. Vincent Fogarty and Alan Wallace provide sensitive accompaniment.

The playing on this album is good, sometimes even great. Samzun and Monod are certainly not the first French-speaking visitors to County Clare, there were numerous tourists as early as 1798 and there may even have been some with the Spanish armadillo fanciers a couple of centuries earlier, but possibly none has become as immersed in the music as this pair. The Limestone Rock, The Hills Of Coore by Junior Crehan, The First House In Connaught, Down The Back Lane and Tomeen O'Dea's are all classic Clare tunes. A chunk of the repertoire here is also associated with East Galway and beyond: Lucy Farr, Joe Ryan, Paddy Fahey, and even Paddy O'Brien. Less than half the album is reels, with a good helping of jigs and a few hornpipes, but the lads never slow down further than barndance tempo. Aughavinna is certainly a great representation of Irish music to the wider world, and a fine example of the fiddle and concertina duets which have long been dear to the hearts of Clare musicians.

Alex Monaghan


This review appeared in Issue 138 of The Living Tradition magazine