The Wynd You Know
If you love the pipes, and you don’t already have this, then go and get it immediately! Some of the most spirited and joyful playing you could wish to hear, and slow airs performed with great sensitivity and soul; Ronan Browne is a player of striking emotional breadth. He also plays some flute and whistle (on Indian bansuri) on this album.
He makes rich harmonic use of the regulators - listen to samples from tracks 10 and 14 here:
(The regs work on Track 5 is particularly phenomenal - I’ve watched pipers listen to it open-mouthed - but the sample on the Claddagh site doesn’t get you that far into the track.)
He’s also (of course) a virtuoso on the chanter, and has a beautiful, Willie-Clancy-inspired style with plenty of slurs and bends, making the most of those hair-raising blue notes that only exist on the pipes.
And when you’ve got this album, go and get the ones with Peter O’Loughlin, as well!
(ps - it’s spelt ‘Wynd’ in the album title, rather than ‘wind’).
"Ronan Browne: The Wynd You Know" ~ lovely and raw
And, thank you Ronan, none of that overblown reverb a la ceramic tiled loo to muddy the experience. Too much reverb is a bit like a B movie, or cheap paperback romance novels, thick, syrupy, and mostly an irritation, though I have also enjoyed the occasional B-movie as a lark, and sometimes I can take a bit of the shlock of reverb if the music is exceptional despite the mud of reverb nearing echo…
This is a favourite recording, ideal for any of you pipers out there that need a clean listen, to really hear the skill of this talented musician. There are a few light accompaniments, three tracks with the also talented Kevin Glackin, track 5 & 6 with Ronan on pipes, track 7 with Ronan on flute, and track 8 with Ronan on Bb whistle. Tracks 6 & 8 also feature Tríona Ni Dhomhnaill on harmonium, but nothing heavy or in the way. All tracks are a joy to my ears, much appreciated, loved…
Track 9: "Ask My Father" / "Cailín An Tí Mhóir" ~ to my ears these are ‘clearly’ not single jigs as listed but have the melodic structure of highland flings, including, despite them being doubled here to 32 bars, with the classic second endings of such tunes. It is not unusual for swung tunes, including barndances and highland flings, to be notated as if they were single jigs/slides. The melody here, for me, speaks of highland flings. I’ll add transcriptions in that sene, one aleady added here:
"The Doon Highland" / “Pat Ward’s Highland Fling” / "Cailín An Tí Mhóir"
Submitted on May 25th 2006 by ceolachan.
As Highland Flings/Schottisches were less and less danced the tunes served other functions, more usually as single reels. However you take these melodies, they’re great tunes and the playing here is sweet. I highly recommend this recording, and anything else by Ronan Browne…
"Pat Ward’s" not "Cailín An Tí Mhóir"
Oops! ~ wrong tune name mixed up above, not "Cailín An Tí Mhóir" but "Pat Ward’s"! 😏