One of the Most Creative Minds in ITM
I just love Cathal McConnel. I learned to play whistle using his pennywhistle tutor. His playing is somewhat rough around the edges, but his style is so wonderfully unique. This album brilliantly showcases his unmistakably original approach to Irish music, and is a must for any traditional flute or whistle player. It also features a handful of terrific trad performers, such as Joe McKenna, Susan McKeown, and Joanie Madden.
Track #2 (Crowley’s/O’Rourke’s) is worth the cost of the album all by itself. It’s a lively arrangement with CM playing his trusty Generations whistle, accompanied by Pat Kilbride on citterns. His variations on Crowley’s are more fun than a barrel of hamsters on crack (or should that be craic?).
His version of The Derry Hornpipe is also wonderfully mellifluous, with rollicking triplet-rich ornaments that really give it some bounce. I was never a big fan of hornpipes till this track showed me what could be done with them.
Track #3 is a set of some of his own original compositions, played on the flute. They are similar in feel to his more well-known composition The Sunset Reel (not on this album). There’s a certain haunting lyricism to the tunes that is enhanced nicely by the unique accompaniment provided on piano and double bass, and—on the last tune of the set—cittern, mandolin and steel guitar.
One of my favorite sets was track #7, with two more of his original compositions—a lovely air followed by a strangely chromatic reel beautifully accompanied by a string quartet and electric upright bass. It’s wonderfully "out there," in my opinion, but some of my friends who listened to this track didn’t like it for that very reason. This set is not very "traditional," but I believe it serves as a fine example of CM’s creative brilliance.
Track #8, The Hurricane of Reels, is a fun little song using the names of various trad tunes in the lyrics. This is one to learn and sing at session for your other ITM afficionado friends.
There’s so much more that can be said of this little gem, but words can’t do it justice. Do yourself a favor and check it out.
I am a flutist (fairly new to Irish music— 2 years) myself and bought this album because I loved McConnell’s set on the Wooden Flute Obsession compilation. For some reason (personal preference I guess), I usually get slightly turned off by albums that I expect to be instrumental, but have several song selections as well. Not the case with this CD. There is something very simple and primal about McConnell’s voice that I cannot get enough of. If I close my eyes while listening to his voice, it almost feels like I’m back in the pubs of Ireland. So, buy this album regardless of whether you like instrumental tunes or vocal songs. Either way, you won’t be disappointed.
At the Edinburgh Folk Festival one year Cathal was upstairs in the pub singing song after song with Hamish Henderson (who is no longer with us in body, though his spirit lives on). It was the afternoon, and they were both ecstatic with drink and music, oblivious to the session a few feet away (which included a Highland piper). It was one of those moments that exist only in its time. You could never capture it in a recording or a photograph. It was the most memorable "performance" of the whole weekend.
The tune Scotland-Ireland is not linked from the Details tab, due to a mis-spelling, but it’s in the database here:
The Hangover appears to be linked, but clicking on it sends you to the Hangover Hornpipe, not Cathal’s jig.
The Hurricane of Reels -detail of tunes used-
If I remember well, the hurricane of reels is sung to a ‘single’ version of Bonny Kate
The bouts of lilting between the verses use the melody of the last reel named:
The Sligo Maid, https://thesession.org/tunes/399
The Bucks of Oranmore, https://thesession.org/tunes/2
Miss McLeod’s, https://thesession.org/tunes/75
and the Girl from Donegal -is it this one? https://thesession.org/tunes/1621 (help needed here)
are all sung (without the second part) between the verses…
THE HURRICANE OF REELS
Copyright by Paddy Tunney
I rolled with Roarin’ Mary and I cuddled Bonnie Kate,
I got drunk with Bonnie Annie, scared The Pigeon off the Gate,
After all these comely maidens with whom I did parade,
I most often took my chances with the darling Sligo Maid.
Tim Moloney took The Bag o’ Spuds, it was a heavy load,
Fed them out to Jenny’s Chickens Going West Along the Road.
The merry Maids of Mitchellstown are missing from the floor,
They’ll be in The New Mown Meadows with The Bucks of Oranmore.
Lord MacDonald and Lord Gordon swing the Lasses from Fermoy,
But sure Drowsie Maggie told me that they were The Soldier’s Joy.
I met with Tim Moloney, he was feeling mighty proud,
As the Hielan’ done the Highland with the darlin’ Miss McLeod.
I met The Jolly Tinker, he was singin’ like a Thrush,
And The Lark was in the Morning and The Bird was in the Bush.
After all my great adventures with these maidens great and small,
I settled down and married The Girl From Donegal.
I posted the "Hurricane Of Reels" lyrics in response to a discussion request in 2005, but agree, it makes perfect sense to include them in the recordings "Discussion" of the appropriate album. Met up with Cathal a month ago - he’s still in great form, I’m pleased to say.
I also posted your link under ‘Bonnie Kate’, Kenny, just to make sure :-) https://thesession.org/tunes/754/comments