TRIAD Review -The Living Tradition

Private Label RLBCD001

A scintillating disc of tunes of varying origin played on wooden flute (Sylvain), bouzouki (Dónal) and concertina (Pádraig), which delivers more than it might promise, largely due to the richness of the recording and the players evident sense of delight in the musical arrangements which enable them to take a few chances outside the envelope of straight sessioneering. Some creative multitracking is involved (mostly in Dónal’s case, with guitar, bass, bodhrán and occasional keyboards, and Sylvain takes up the uilleann pipes on a couple of tracks and whistle on one other), while Tóla Custy, John McSherry and Jacques Pellen guest on isolated tracks.

The range of tunes is compellingly managed too, featuring hop- and slip-jig sets alongside a Macedonian horo, a Breton-flavoured take on a Swedish tune, and an apt pairing of Breton melody and slow reel. Key choices for the discerning listener must surely include Dónal’s three compositions here: the tricky rhythmic superimpositions of Skipstep, the carefree almost-slipjig aura of SunFish Ripple and the majestic gestures of Here Comes Herself – originally written for his big-band Coolfin but never properly recorded by that magnificent outfit. An invigorating listen all told, and one which showcases these musical bedfellows at something approaching their best.

David Kidman