Enough of politics and social commentary; today it’s just music for music’s sake. And fabulous music too. I would never claim to be an expert on Irish music but if I were to asked for a starting point, a way into traditional Irish music, I would always recommend Martin Hayes and Dennis Cahill. The music is beautiful, the tunes well chosen and the playing is, needless to say, exquisite.
The music on their albums is traditional but the way they present the music brings it right up to date without straying from the history of the music and the culture from which it has sprung. Martin Hayes has written eloquently about the approach he and Dennis Cahill take to make the music live today. In the liner notes to The Lonesome touch he writes, “In Irish music today there is much debate and division on the issues of continuity versus change and tradition versus innovation. I think it is a mistake to divide these issues as the music is capable of containing all of these parts at once. The real battle is between artistic integrity and the forces that impede creative expression. Traditional Irish music has always experienced change and been enriched by innovation, while at the same time maintaining continuity. The issue that is of utmost importance is that innovation, change, tradition and continuity all be tempered by integrity, humility and understanding.”
To date, I’ve never managed to see Martin Hayes and Dennis Cahill play live. It is one of my musical ambitions. The gig I fancied was one they did at the Irish Embassy in Paris a few years ago. I did not even get to see them when they played in London last month. They appeared at the London Irish Centre – possible a more apposite venue than the Paris Embassy! One day I’ll catch them, one day soon, I hope.
I’ve now come to the end of my Irish season. Next week I’ve planned a seasonal track and then I’ve got a mini series of tracks lined up for January. Watch this space.