Ceol Is Píob

By TIarnan O Duinnchinn

Ten comments

“Ceol is Piob” Stephanie Makem & Tiarnan O Duinnchinn (Traditional Irish Song and Uilleann Pipes)

“Stephanie Makem’s singing is beautiful, sweet and guileless yet packed with emotion and art. Listen to "Úrchnoc Chéin Mhic Cáinte" for taste and subtlety.”
Brian Mullen, BBC

This is a wonderful CD by Tiarnán Ó Duinnchinn and Stephanie Makem. Stephanie’s voice perfectly complements the fiery, delicate, and perfectly coordinated bag, bellows, chanter, and regulators of Tiarnán. Just listen to the B-flat set on "The Silver Slipper"-"Glen Road to Carrick."
Some officiates have suggested or attempted importing jazz, blues, rock, or whatever influences to "complement" the tradition. This living tradition has within itself the jazz of jazz, the blues of blues, the rock of rock, and much more. Who would add flour to an already perfectly baked loaf of bread or gild this lily of a CD?
Is glórmhar an ceol seo.
Tommy Peoples

Just got this CD from the master himself at a pipes workshop at the Swiss Tionol.
I really * love * Tiarnan’s piping and he gives us here a nice mixture of some good old standards, unknown newly composed tunes. Brilliant backing too! BTW
Handel’s Jig is one of the first adaption of the baroque repertoire which I do like.
The songs song by Stephanie Makem are great as well, so this CD is must for the lpiping community as well as for the sean-nos lovers.

While the abuse of reverb on some tracks, painfully ‘ringing’ reverb, drives me baatty ~ I like the piping. I’m especially fond of the relaxed take on a highland on track 7, though I wish he’d been brave enough to stick to highlands for a full set. And there’s lovely track 14, a barndancing we will go, and I have even been up dancing with others to that… The piping and whistling swims along beautifully, in between singing, but the air ‘An Chúilfhionn’ is damaged by the ringing reverb it has been processed through.

Man the pipes and damn the technicians and their diddlin’ ways…

Reverb rant

To ceolachan : this cd sounds great on my average Yamaha speakers, and even better on my studio quality JBLs… Reverb and ringing is actually part of the music : think of the old style metal strung harp that rings for ever… a LOT of players love playing - especially slow airs - in big halls with sometimes much more reverb than here. Uilleann pipes are often compared to organ… I’ve never seen a full organ in open air, do you ?

Each to his own, eh. I feel the abuse of too much reverb muddies the music, though it can also help to cover up shight playing. That’s not the case here. I like what I hear and would have like to hear it more clearly. A little reverb is passable. Whatever the qualities of one’s speakers, which don’t necessarily correlate with ears, for me it’s just too much.

Ceramic tiled toilets and stairwells work too…

Whatever the niggles, this is a lovely recording and I have no problem recommending it to the ears of others…

Feeling that possibly what I’d initially added here might be taken wrongly, I added the clarity of a recommendation. I then went away to spend more listening pleasure, but in particular to this CD and it’s 14 tracks. The appreciation remains, I like it, but I still think that the icing of reverb on the track previously mentioned is too thick, for my liking, but I still like the music that manages to shine through it.

Taking this issue elsewhere, to the traditional Wedding or Christmas cake, you know, the fruit cake layered in marzipan and then a white icing that hardens like plaster. Some folks like that last seal layered as thick as possible. I’m not a great fan for the overly sweet, but I’ve had some great traditional cakes like this, but I prefer that it’s not too plastered. I’d rather the attention went to the soaking of it in strong liquor. My preference is for what’s inside. Some folks especially like the marzipan. Tastes differ.

As to churches and reverberant large halls, they are not the same thing empty as they are with a full congregation / audience, or with the wall hangings. Experienced sound techs and musicians well know the hell there is with extremes of reverb and echo. I find the fascination and abuse of this in recordings an irritant. That’s not to say that a balance can’t be achieved with respect for the music. Sometimes though it is just too much. On this one track, for me, it was OTT, personally speaking… The icing was layered on a bit too thick for my liking. But that’s just one track out of 14, and I still appreciate the music in that one track despite the reverb…