Traditional Music From Clare And Beyond

By Gearoid O HAllmhurain

Four comments

A Brilliant Album!

A brillant album with concertina master Gearoid O hAllmurain, with guest fiddlers Paddy Canny, Peter O‘Loughlin and Martin Hayes, as well as Janet Harbison (Harp), Zan McLeon (Guitar), Barbara MacDonald Magone (Piano), Bill Dennehy (Fiddle), Micheal O hAllhain (Tin Whistle), John Goodman (Bass) and Padraig O’Dea (Step Dancing).

I was quite intrigued to see how step dancing could be included in an audio recording and was delighted to hear it on the Boys of Bluehill/Stack of Barley. The sound of the dancing really adds to the track, giving a percussion feel; and it’s kind of nice to listen to a track knowing that someone is dancing to it 🙂

I also appreciated the thick CD booklet included, that gives a little bit of info on each tune.

All in all a brillant album! 🙂

O hAllmhurain….sounds like a Galway man to me…but I’ll believe he’s from Clare.

Recording technique

Having just acquired this recording, I notice that there’s a neat trick to it. The engineer clearly used two microphones on the concertina, one on either set of reeds (makes sense, I suppose). However, since those mikes are panned hard left and hard right, you have a wonderful bounce across the stereo field depending on the note played.
I wonder if concertina players find this helpful for getting O HAllmhurain’s fingerings?

Traditional Music from Clare and Beyond

I´ve heard that effect on some concertina recordings, Jon.
It´s interesting to work out which hand the player is using for which notes, but the problem is, old habits die hard and however good it sounds on the recording, if I´ve learnt to play the tune with my own fingering, it´s very hard to change.
There has been some discussion on this site in the past about concertina styles of playing.
The “economical” style of getting in as many notes as you can on each push and draw, à la Noel hill, versus the more “jerky” style of playing, in and out on the bellows, favoured by some of the older players, and said to be more suitable for dancing to.
Each style has its followers. The first one seems to be the more prevalent today. I tend to prefer the second.
Of course, the two styles can overlap and your own style ends up by being a bit of both.