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MICHAEL WALSH - Quarehawk 

MICHAEL WALSH - Quarehawk 
Private Label MPWQH001 

Michael Walsh is a Sheffield-based flute and whistle player with a Manchester-Irish background. His characterful debut album is a delight, if a somewhat unusual one. There’s a fair proportion of traditional tunes played in conventional manner here, alongside more elaborate arrangements and conceptual material, including two tracks with spoken word content.

One of these is the autobiographical title track, on the theme of the misfit; the other is a commissioned poem on the subject of fathers and sons. The latter theme is picked up again in the Ewan MacColl song, Come My Little Son (England’s Motorway). Another song is a stunning trilingual rendering of The Shores Of Lough Bran – the trilingual element comes from Michael’s study of the music of the Asturias region in Spain. Most of the tracks are tune sets, nonetheless.

A number of musicians contribute to the album, although they each tend to appear on just a few numbers. Given the Manchester Irish connection, it is no surprise to find that Michael McGoldrick is involved, but I would highlight Liz Hanks’ contributions on cello. I reckon that the cello is probably on its way to becoming excessively fashionable, but on this form, we’ve not had too much of it yet.

I am aware that Michael lends his skills to the Sheffield scene in several ways, as a teacher of his instruments, as well as a researcher. With Quarehawk, he is now also making his mark as a recording artist very firmly indeed.

Paul Mansfield


This review appeared in Issue 132 of The Living Tradition magazine