Exploring chamber composition and improvisation within the framework of Irish traditional music, Roscanna is the sublime debut album from this phenomenally talented trio of Neil Ó Loclainn on double bass and flute, Aoife Ní Bhriain on fiddle, and Matthew Berrill on clarinet.
Having been presenting their music for over a year now at the likes of Kaleidoscope, @TheDrawingRoom, and the Galway Jazz Festival, the trio recently went into the studio at Tigh Roy in the Galtee Mountains and recorded this 50-minute-long suite of five movements composed and arranged by Ó Loclainn.
Citing influences as varied as Carnatic music, Morton Feldman and Bela Bartok on the one hand; and Tommy Potts, Tony MacMahon and the uilleann pipes repertoire on the other, the music overcomes the idea of genre to create a boundary-less style focussing on melodic detail and mood.
The track titles reflect the range of influences and some of the thinking behind the album: ‘Rosc’, ‘Tandava’, ‘Abira’, ‘Cappanwalla’, QfwfQ’, ‘Zezere’, ‘Breac’, ‘Corrguineacht’ – all new compositions; and the closing track is an arrangement of the traditional slow air, ‘Bádaí na Scadán’.
Blurring the lines between improvised and composed work to create a spacious, meditative texture, often with ambient undertones, Ó Loclainn’s compositions here vary between complex arrangement and bare sketches that give space for individual expression from the musicians.
Individually, the members are among the most accomplished of their generation on their instruments, performing with some of Ireland’s leading ensembles, including Crash Ensemble, Ensemble Ériu, and the Irish Memory Orchestra, as well as pursuing their own musical careers and projects.
‘Roscanna’ – co-produced by Jack Talty – is being released on leading Irish record label, Raelach Records, at three concerts this month:
Published on 4 April 2017