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TOM DELANY - The Lark's Call 

TOM DELANY - The Lark's Call 
Private Label  

This young piper and whistle-player already has a great reputation from his work with FourWinds, Caroline Keans and others. Here he shines in solo mode, flamboyant fingering and imaginative variations enhancing some great tunes from the Irish tradition. Kilglass Lake starts with a bang, lifting the chanter for big low Ds. The change into The Ravelled Hank Of Yarn is a heart-stopping moment, handled with consummate skill. Delany's penchant for the open untamed piping of the traveller tradition - Doran, Keenan, Dunne and others - comes through strongly on the selections starting with The Gooseberry Bush and The Job Of Journeywork, fingers flying and caution thrown to the wind while the regulators reinforce a wild rhythm. Tom's no slouch on the whistle either, breezing through big reels and jigs like Maudabawn Chapel and The Lark On The Strand.

In eight tracks of piping and two on the whistle, Tom is accompanied by several musicians - Alan Murray's bouzouki pretty much throughout, plus stints from Brian O’Loughlin on flute, Laura Kerr on fiddle, Conor Lyons on bodhrán, Camille Philippe on mandolin and, of course, Caroline Keane on concertina. Ensemble tracks and sparser solos alternate, as do the reels and jigs, hornpipes and airs, slipjigs and flings. The slow air, Valentia Harbour, is pure piping, full and rounded, moving and mesmeric. The Lark's Call closes out with another mixed medley: The Eavesdropper, The Morning Star and My Love Is In America, bags of flair thrown into every tune. French-born and Irish-bred, Tom Delany has made the uilleann pipes his own here, and his solo debut is a serious statement of intent - expect to hear much more from a young maestro with a very promising future in traditional music.

Alex Monaghan


This review appeared in Issue 144 of The Living Tradition magazine