Reviews


Jig Away the Donkey: Music and Song of South Ulster Lughnasa Music  

This collection casts a net across the musical landscape that stretches from south Donegal to north Louth, taking into its gabháil the riches of Fermanagh, Cavan, Monaghan and Donegal. Unlike the much- vaunted regional style of say, Sliabh Luachra, south Ulster’s musical accent has rarely sought out the limelight – until now. Fiddler Gerry O’Connor has a pristine style, deeply attentive to mood and colour, and here he brings a magical sensibility to many tunes rarely corralled in a studio. Apart from the title tune), there are some beautifully executed sets, such as My Mind Will Never Be ’Aisy, which thrives on the genteel inter-stitching of McArdle’s concertina, Quinn’s discreet accordion and O’Connor’s fiddle. The songs are a hardier proposition, delivered in that trademark no-nonsense style also beloved of McArdle’s fellow Fermanagh singer, Cathal McConnell. See southulstermusic.com

SIOBHÁN LONG The Ticket 
The Irish Times - Friday, September 9, 2011

Music and songs of South Ulster from three great musicians from the area. Master fiddle player Gerry O’Connor (Louth) is joined by concertina player and singer Gabriel McArdle (Fermanagh) and box player Martin Quinn (Armagh) on this new CD. They are all brilliant at what they do and I have praised them all before and after listening to this CD, I certainly haven’t changed my opinion.
Nothing can go wrong if you put three musicians of this calibre together - in fact the synergy effect oozes out of the speakers. Here are three people not just playing and singing Irish music, but playing ”their own” Irish music. They play and sing at a pace where every little finesse can be heard and it’s a pure pleasure listening to it. If you expect a ”Whiskey in the Jar”-type of Irish CD you will be very very disappointed, but if you are looking for a traditional Irish CD in its purest form, you must not miss this.That is what it is: Pure Tradition with a capital T.
LUGCD964 (September 2011)
www.southulstermusic.com


JIG AWAY THE DONKEY
Music and Song of South Ulster
Gerry O’Connor, fiddle, Gabreil McArdle, Songs and Concertina, and Martin Quinn, Accordion
13 tracks; 46 minns. LUGCD964
This is a darling of an album, a real pet which was launched this past July. Three fine musicians playing tunes they like, and nobody throwing shapes at all: not a dodecahedron in sight. Indeed, it seems strange that anyone attempted to put a border through a region so culturally united, though it was good for smuggling and similar field sports.
The album is crystal clear with the notes of accordion and fiddle tripping out bold and true, it has a live presence rarely found in studio recordings. For an example, the interplay between box and fiddle on the Cottage reel is a a case of less is more, a longish note held on the on the box where other players might add a muffling chord. The same texture is present on the song selections too, with Gabriel McArdle having an easy way with words, his songs are full of resonance but taken at a pace where the words are allowed to linger and make an impression.
Best track for me from Gerry is the Mohill set, with the Johnny Doherty tune The Maids of Mullagh. The songs are very good also:
I also especially like the one about the Holland handkerchief. Holland, as a type of cloth, dates back to the 1720’s.
It’s a model of quiet rhythmic playing, and blending accordion and concertina works well if they’re in tune and all players on one wavelength. For sheer naturalness and happy playing it’s as delightful as a cat well fed on cream.

John Brophy
Irish Music Magazine 2011


Gerry O’Connor, Gabriel McArdle, Martin Quinn
Jig Away the Donkey
(Lughnasa Music, 13 Tracks)

Music and Song of South Ulster – das ist das Motto der CD. Und drei hervorragende Musiker widmen sich diesem voll und ganz. Mit Fiddle, Concertina, Button Accordion und Gesang. Es macht wirklich Spaß, den Dreien zuzuhören. Die witzigen Songs singt Gabriel McArdle so, dass ein verschmitztes Lächeln aus den Lautsprechern dringt. Die Musik ist dicht und nah, auch dank des klaren Sounds, den Gerry O’Connors Sohn Donal gemischt hat. Eine Platte mit traditioneller Musik, die ich nicht nur totalen Spezialisten ans Herz legen möchte.

Sabrina Palm Irland Journal Germany






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