DÁN is a recently commissioned touring project made up of 14 well respected artists that has recently toured Ireland (more dates to follow in 2013). The project is the brainchild of Irish group Guidewires whose high-energy performances and arrangements have been a tour de force in the wave of new cutting edge Irish music. The band is made up of some the most well know and respected musicians from Ireland: Pádraig Rynne (Concertina), Tóla Custy (Fiddle), Paul McSherry (Guitar), Karol Lynch (Bouzouki) and one of Brittany’s busiest musicians: Sylvain Barou (Flute / Uilleann pipes).
The project is in many ways an extension and expansion of that what they already fuse in their music: Irish, Scottish, Breton, Middle Eastern and Galician music. It will probably not come as a surprise that they have found a kinship with another super-group: Kan made up of Brian Finnegan (Flook), Aidan O’Rourke (Lau), James Goodwin (drums) and Ian Stephenson (guitar) who mix the music of Ireland, Scotland, Breton dance, Asturian jigs as well as influences from the avant garde jazz quarter and from the middle east in form of Israeli bassist Avishai Cohen.
Also joining the project is Alyth McCormack on Vocals who hails from the Island of Lewis (now living in Dublin) where she began singing at the age of 4. In addtion there are some very fine musicians making up the Breton Quartet: Etienne Callac (Bass), Geoffroy Tamisier (Trumpet / Bugle), Jacques Pellen (Guitar) and Janick Martin (Accordion).
The music promises to be a concoction of traditional and jazz musical cultures from Ireland, France and Scotland, with elements from the Middle East and Galicia as well as spoken word legacies. Whilst difficult to imagine you know that the output will b brilliant based on the track record of all involved. They will take it to the fringe where such collaborations give birth to fresh and new sounds.
Their performances range from the intimate, offering a taste of each culture before they collabrate in a heady mix of a full ensemble.
The tapestry will move from Irish jigs and Scottish stratspeys to English hornpipes and Breton gavottes, bringing together the diverse cultures of its passionate players through a shared discipline for traditional music-making, in an expansive and exhilarating production.
Kan’s initial recollection of this whole experience highlights the magic at work:
13th – 19th August saw the boys fly into Shannon to join two fine groups of musicians lending support to the equally fine Alyth McCormack, collectively the ambitious week long project that was Dán. (Pronounced like dawn, doesn’t rhyme with Kan. Pity.)
Curators Guidewires hosted events, which kicked off with THE most exhaustive rehearsing in the history of histories.
The second day brought the considerable talents of Breton supremos Jacques Pellen, Etienne Callac, Janick Martin and Geofroy Tarmisier.
Effectively we had just three days to bring together a tune written by every member of this 14 strong ensemble, to be followed by four concerts around Ireland, including the Fleadh at Cavan.
We’d thought, how is this going to work? Three days?? How many tunes can you absorb & make sense of? With every stop, start, drop-out, build, count-in to take care of? Well, somehow everyone found his/her voice to take the rest of the group through each tune. There were influences from far beyond the represented nations in the music that developed. Outside of rehearsal you’ve never heard so many different melodies being hummed and muttered at once. Within three days everybody’s full to the brim of notes.
So we played the first night. Boom! The very respectable local crowd loved it. So did we! The relief to have finally presented the fruit of our hard work swept through the hall.
The three concerts that followed took in Dublin’s National Concert Hall, the Fleadh at Cavan (Brian on double-duty there with Flook), and St. Canice’s Cathedral, Kilkenny. Nothing beats a week of meeting fellow musicians, beginning as strangers, old friends by the end. We are really looking forward to resuming working together…Special thanks to the Arts Council Ireland, and to Karol and Tola of Guidewires for putting masses of work into this.
Future Tour Dates
Dan will be touring again early 2013 – tours of Spain, Belgium, England and Scotland are on the cards.