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COLM Mac CON IOMAIRE - The Hare's Corner

COLM Mac CON IOMAIRE - The Hare's Corner
Plateau Records  PLATEAU16CD

Billed in its press release as 'cinematic', this is a collection of descriptive and evocative pieces by Frames fiddler Colm Mac Con Iomaire, a founder member of Kila and a scion of Dublin's Irish-speaking community. The album also features guests on harp, drums, piano, trumpet, bass and vocals. Mac Con Iomaire adds banjo, bouzouki, harmonium, cello and guitars to his fiddle and violin, producing a rich landscape of music with an eclectic international perspective. This is more like the repertoire of an American or Central European fiddler: the sweeping ensemble arrangement of Aisling Eimear, the Balkan rhythms of Thou Shalt Not Carry Timber, the backwoods scrape and twang of Maidhm a Dó. The most obviously Irish piece here is probably The Cuckoo of Glen Nephin, a version of the Seamus Ennis air.

Colm is a fine player in this genre of gentle airs and musings, and many of his compositions are very pleasant. Time Will Tell sets a Newgrass tone with banjo and trumpet, almost an intro to a Gerry O'Connor showpiece. Port Ronnie is a simple little tune, whistled and wordlessly sung, whereas Blue Shoes is too much like a classical arpeggio exercise for my taste. An Cósar Dearg returns to the Nashville groove, a strong beat behind soaring fiddle. The Court of New Town conjures up the west coast of Scotland for me, recalling the compositions of Duncan Chisholm or Farquhar MacDonald. Mac Con Iomaire ends this recording with the gentle misty Beaten Wings, more meditation than music. There's some nice artwork on the cover, based on the theme of a refuge left in the corner of a harvested field, but not much more explanation than that. If this takes your fancy, try for details.

Alex Monaghan

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This album was reviewed in Issue 90 of The Living Tradition magazine.