Swimming Against the Falls / Snámh in Aghaidh Easa

By Joey Abarta

Seven comments

Swimming Against the Falls

A really excellent new album of solo piping by the young Joey Abarta. Here’s a review by Tony Lawless from the tradconnect site:

There must be something deeply gratifying about achieving your long held dreams. For Joey Abarta a lifetime of Swimming Against The Falls has ended and the swim has taken him to his rightful place. He has delivered a debut of majestic proportions that displays the talent evident for so long and now finally on record. The album title was given to him by sean-nós singer Lillis Ó Laoire and it loosely translates to "trying the impossible" according to Daniel Neely who produced the album. It describes his all-consuming battle to master this instrument and music. The attached audio shows that there is nothing like the pure raw beauty of a musician transferring such innate talent and learning into an instrument and allowing us to savour the resultant music. On Swimming Against The Falls you have music that if presented to you in the quiet corner of your local pub would leave you mesmerised.

His reverence for the piping masters is clear and he feels their likes will never be seen again. On the basis of this I would not be so pessimistic. This album it must be stated is a solo piping album. It has been recorded and mastered with very little editing. The album cracks and groans and spits at times to let you know that this is the real deal. His tune selection combines new and old with reference to the greats as you would expect. Patrick J Touhey inspires a great set of jigs called Miners of Wicklow/My Former Wife. A Seamus Ennis version of The Rocky Road to Dublin paired with Dusty Miller also stands out. Joey’s staccato style and his beautiful ebb and flow use of the regulators makes for some truly great tracks. Expressive and authentic it is a solo journey into the very heart of Willie Clancy himself. He paces his music well thereby allowing you the time to delight in the sound and rhythms. This should broaden its appeal to a much wider audience. The album bears comparisons with a few recent albums, of what could be described as live un-edited recordings. I refer to MacDara O’ Raghallaígh’s Ego Trip or Éanna Ó’ Cróinín’s Ceol Ársa na bPíob or even Wallop The Spot recorded by Joey’s mentor Patrick D’ Arcy. It is this raw element to the recording that makes the difference in the final product. He has left in the noises and squeaks that could so easily have been taken out. As a result you get 12 tracks of superb piping music that bring you as close to the true feel and sound of the uilleann pipes as you will get. Highly recommended.

Listen and buy on www.joeyabarta.com and www.cdbaby.com/cd/joeyabarta

The 13th track is a bonus track made available to Kickstarter supporters, and doesn’t appear on the CD or downloads. Nonetheless, I thought it would be appropriate to include it here.

The first reel of track 1 is this here: https://thesession.org/tunes/2626
In the liner notes, Joey says: I heard this first reel when I was I living in Galway, enjoying an endless supply of good company, tobacco and espresso. My friend Anders Trabjerg told me he’d learned it off an old 78rpm record and said it was called “They Sailed Away from Dublin Bay.” Although it’s not melodically related to the song and waltz of the same name, it’s a lovely tune that also goes by the titles “Temple on the Hill” and the “Sweetheart Reel,” and is also part of Percy Grainger’s composition “Molly on The Shore.”
No doubt Anders had this title because the reel was recorded by Liam Farrell and Joe Whelan on their album "They Sailed Away from Dublin Bay" ( https://thesession.org/recordings/1172 ), although there it was listed as Paul Brock’s.

The slip jig Joey calls Dirty Linen is a setting of https://thesession.org/tunes/1506. I think it’s likely the name came from the fact that it is the first tune in a set recorded by the band Fairport Convention on their record Full House. The set as a whole was listed as Dirty Linen on the album.

"Joey Abarta: Swimming Against the Falls / Snámh in Aghaidh Easa"


& something to listen to as well, with short sleep deprived comment 😉 :

This is lovely, and the more relaxed way with "The Auld Copper Plate", after ther air, very enjoyable.
Joey Abarta plays: The Rocks of Bawn/ The Old Copper Plate

And another pleasant earfull, nicely done…

This is a nice earsfull too:
Joey Abarta - SCUPC Tionol Concert 2007

This had a smile and brought a smile too ~
Nora dances

Does Joey have unusually big feet? ~ or maybe it was the camera here:

This take lies better on the ears… I love the vintage shoes.

Have you seen the documentary? Lovely playing here too…
Joey Abarta - Teaser ~ for a documentary!?

Published on 25 Mar 2012
This is a small sample of a longer documentary project featuring Uilleann Piper Joey Abarta. Please check back for more info or contact jeff@theplantproductions.com

Hmmm? I know it shouldn’t, but its bother me how those books are stacked on that bookshelf, piled, piles… 😀 Ah, socks! No his feet ain’t big, they’re normal, if there is such a thing. He should practice wearing socks, or slippers, whenever he plays. 😀 Or ~ taking a deep pile bit of rug along with him to slide under his shoes. I’m not sure how a long set of playing the uilleann pipes constitutes a ‘documentary’, but I enjoyed this listen.

And to close now with one I especially enjoyed listening to, sweet, though I wish he’d just left the air on its own, but the jig was a plesant listen too:
Joey Abarta; The Dear Irish Boy

Here just a fragment about this piper from his website:

"Currently based in Boston, Joey divides his attention between performance, teaching, and recording. In addition to performing solo, he tours with Mick Moloney and the group The Green Fields of America; while at home, he organizes the meetings of the Boston Pipers Club, teaches for Comhaltas’ Boston Music School, and organizes various traditional music concerts and events."

Careful now!

Don’t make disparage my bookshelves, ceolachan! :D

Joey’s a great piper, but the real highlight is the yellow chairs, in my opinion. (That’s a joke - Joey’s great).

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