In recent years there has been a spate of Irish musicians who are not so much challenging the borders of Irish Traditional music but playing with it and expanding our senses of what’s achievable. Obvious names such as The Gloaming may spring to mind or the more recent release from the Martin Hayes Quartet. Listening to some of the releases on Clare-based record label Raelach Records by bands such as Ensemble Ériu and Cuar may lead you to wonder if there is some new artistic movement at play. Their most recent release is no exception.
For those new to the music of East Clare duo An Tara, they are Tommy Hayes and Matthew Noone. A glance through the instruments played may raise some eyebrows… Tommy plays bodhran, bones, spoons, marimba, bells, mbira, jews harp, silkworm cocoons and goats toenails (yes toenails). Matthew plays the 23 stringed North Indian lute called sarode. He also makes loops and drones.
In all my years of running Folk Radio UK (over thirteen now), nothing beats the thrill of discovering and hearing something new and innovational for the first time. It’s a reinvigorating and fulfilling experience and this opening title-track from An Tara‘s second album is a great example, as is the second preview track Morning Dew. Talking about the music Matthew Noone’s comments “While there’s a flavour of North India in the tonality and improvisation, the mood of the album is mostly influenced by a particular style of Irish traditional playing.” Their music ‘explores the spaces in-between the traditions of Irish and Indian Classical music’ and it is that is where the magic lies, and these two have heaps of it.
The album was recorded, mixed, mastered and produced by Jack Talty and is available to order via Bandcamp (Digital/CD) here: https://raelachrecords.bandcamp.com/album/faha-rain
The album is officially launched today (24th Nov) at Galway Folk Club (21:00). Details here on Facebook.
They also have a Dublin Album Launch at the brilliant The Cobblestone on 7th December. More dates and details on Facebook here.