Doireann Glackin & Sarah Flynn – The Housekeepers

Doireann Glackin & Sarah Flynn – The Housekeepers

5
Saturday, 11 May 2019, 12.00pm

Debut album fiddle-player Doireann Glackin and concertina-player Sarah Flynn, released on 11 May 2019.

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Doireann Glackin and Sarah Flynn

Comments

Toner Quinn 1
5

How I discovered this artist: 

I have heard Doireann Glackin perform on television, but it was her terrific fiddle solo as part of the Ireland Performs series that encouraged me to go back to this duet album with Sarah Flynn.

The track or piece of music I enjoyed most: 

The Ace and Deuce of Piping

Why I gave the above rating: 

An album that possibly hasn’t received enough attention since it was released last May, Doireann Glackin and Sarah Flynn’s 'The Housekeepers' comes in a long line of notable albums from traditional musicians in Dublin, from Tommy Potts’ 'The Liffey Banks' and Paddy Glackin, Mick Gavin and Michael O’Brien’s 'The Flags of Dublin' to 'Dublin Made Me' by Liam O’Connor and Seán McKeon.

'The Housekeepers', however, has an added layer in that much of the music is as a result of research by Glackin and Flynn into the repertoire of five early-twentieth century female traditional musicians, namely, Ella Mae O’Dwyer, Nora Hurley, Aggie Whyte, Ellen Galvin and Mollie Myers Murphy.

The album is mainly pared-down fiddle and concertina duets, with gentle guitar accompaniment from John Francis Flynn, all in a recording by Jack Talty that gives a real sense of a live performance. The versions of tunes will catch your ear because of their individuality, but it's also the stylish playing by Glackin and Flynn. It does feel that there is a distinct rhythmic bounce to the music of recent generations of Dublin musicians.

There is also some excellent solos – a dynamic 'Farewell to Éireann' and 'Man of the House' by Glackin, flashes of which will remind you of her uncle Paddy Glackin's 'In Full Spate' from 1994, and Flynn's gently swinging 'Pigot McGee's' and 'The Leac Rua Reel' – but the highlight of the album is a rare version of 'The Ace and Deuce of Piping' that came originally from the blind piper Garrett Barry who passed it on to his pupil Ellen Galvin, and who then gave it to fiddle-player John Kelly Senior in Dublin. Each part ends quietly with four repeats of just two notes over and over, making it stand out in the traditional repertoire.

Another tune that is worth hearing is the reel 'Sonny's Delight', written by Nora Hurley when she was 97. Here it's paired with a solo by Glackin, a rendition of Tommy Potts' version of 'The Star of Munster'. It's fascinating to see such a unique version of a tune becoming part of the repertoire of musicians.

'The Housekeepers' is full of new directions in traditional music, exploring the repertoire of female artists but also reflecting many other influences on Glackin and Flynn – contemporary, historical and family – all distilled down into a very focused and engaging album.

Who readers should listen to next: 

Ella Mae O’Dwyer, Nora Hurley, Aggie Whyte, Ellen Galvin, Mollie Myers Murphy; Paddy, Kevin and Seamus Glackin.
Jun 22, 2020
Michael Walsh
5

How I discovered this artist: 

Sarah Flynn launched this album playing solo at Trip to Birmingham Trad Fest

The track or piece of music I enjoyed most: 

The Ace and Deuce of Piping

Why I gave the above rating: 

Pure stripped back music and a really fascinating story to the research.

Who readers should listen to next: 

Liz Hanley, Mishra
Jul 3, 2020
 

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