Celtic Fiddle Festival: Play On

By Kevin Burke, Christian Lemaitre, Andre Brunet, Ged Foley

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Play On

This is the recording of CFF’s Portland concerts on the Johnny Cunningham Memorial Tour in spring 2004. Although it misses out on reproducing the general lunacy of these four friends having fun with one another and the audience, it’s a good recording of some of the music played. Ged Foley’s solo track, #9, gives an excellent display of his talents, and he shows the delicacy of his touch in the melancholy backing on track #2. Andre Brunet’s foot percussion has a weird thumping sound on the recording, not like the hollow ringing effect it has live, which took a little getting used to, but the spirit of his fiddling comes through loud and clear. Kevin Burke and Christian Lemaitre are their usual excellent selves. The beautifully arranged ensemble performance of Leaving Brittany, track #2, was done in memory olf Johnny Cunningham. Ged begins with a subtle, quiet counterpoint, Kevin coming in over the top and Christian and Andre providing a quiet backdrop. Eventually Kevin steps aside for Christian, and Christian in turn for Andre, then Ged finishes. It was sad to remember the live performance, all four men suddenly sobering from stage silliness into unbelieving grief, Christian pinching the bridge of his nose to hold back tears, Kevin biting his lip, Ged keeping his head very low over the guitar; all of them obviously remembering Johnny with love. But it was Johnny’s memory that sent them out on that tour and on the tour this year that opened with the launch of this cd. It would be a fitting legacy for the new Celtic Fiddle Festival to continue. Certainly the quality of their performance is such that it would be a grand good thing if they do choose, after this tour, to ‘play on’.