By Brian Friel

Three comments

Irish Music Magazine Review

Own Label BF 001

11 tracks www.brianfrielmusic.com

A Kerry man from Tarbert exiled in Stockholm, Brian Friel’s debut album Karusell reveals a fine musician with a pronounced personalised touch. An all-Ireland winner and learning music since childhood from a variety of sources local and national his style keeps the sparkling adroitness of Mick Moloney and Barney McKenna and provides a direct approach devoid of stylistic eccentricities Karusell features mainly Irish material which he executes well and which highlights his playing style. He seldom over accentuates and doesn’t escape into triplet heaven –he focuses on the tunes and their delivery. Donnybrook Fair and Mick O’Connor’s give good examples of his straight forward presentation allied to attractive and unobtrusive backing arrangements which sometimes diverge into Americana like ethereality. The occasional deviations come with the Scandinavian strains in Bakgarden written by Eva Dievert and Totanka Yotanka the latter composed by fellow Kerryman accordionist Frank Mulcahy. Fellow musicians Kieran O Loughlin (Guitars), Mick McAuley (Solas,Box),Perry Stenbäck( Nyckelharpa,Dobro),Paddy Kerr (Bouzouki & Bodhran),Bert Deivert (Bouzouki) add firm lustre to the affair while firmly pushing Brian Friel’s banjo work out front. The end result is music that is refreshingly honest, moulded in traditional ethics yet delightfully cosmopolitan in treatment and suitably pleasing to the ear.

John O Regan/ Irish Music Magazine

The Living Tradition Review
Private Label BF001

This Kerry banjoman, a former All-Ireland champion, has been living in Sweden for a few years now, hence the unusual title of his first commercial recording. He survived a year touring with the Furey brothers, so the Swedish air may be beneficial as a de-tox, and it doesn’t seem to have slowed down his music. Brian plays in a no-nonsense style - this is banjo for banjo fans, following in the footsteps of fine old pluckers such as Barney McKenna, Kieran Hanrahan, Mick O’Connor and Tom Cussen, rather than the groovy flamboyance of O’Connor, Kelly, Scahill or Maloney. Mostly: there are one or two fancier tracks, Totanka Yotanka, for instance, which even includes a key change.

Great music fills this album from start to finish. A lovely rumbling version of Tom Billy’s Jig gives way to the charming slow reel Bakgården - probably Swedish for something relaxing. Mick O’Connor’s Reel is as well played as I’ve heard recently, and I’ve played it with the man himself. There’s a driving version of Rory Gallagher’s Jig, Brian’s own Bonks Reel, and a final flourish on The Green Groves Of Erin. Brian even produces that rarest gem, a banjo waltz. He’s joined by various friends on guitars, drums, accordion, whistle, piano, and of course nyckelharpa. Karusell is a highly enjoyable album, solid playing and great tunes, plus some seriously psychedelic artwork: well worth a visit to www.brianfrielmusic.com for more information.

Alex Monaghan


Some Nice work on the Banjo

As a banjo player its always great to find a new banjo heavy albu🙂 Overall I think he has a nice style and the album has a good sound…
Track 4 is nice Am version of the Drunken Sailor!
Sixth Track is an interesting one.