The many faces of Irish music

Issue 

Between Worlds: The Music of Michael 0 Suilleabhain
Virgin through Larrikin Entertainment
Reviewed by Bernie Brian
This is a selection of music from 0 Suilleabhain's five previous albums. 0 Suilleabhain maybe unknown to many, although he was featured in the 1991 BBC documentary on Irish music, Bringing it all Back Home. The centrepiece of 0 Suilleabhain's music is his beautiful piano playing, with a simple percussion backing of bones and bodhran. My favourite bodhran player, Colm Murphy from De Dannan plays on many of the tracks. While the album is mostly instrumental, it does include an orchestral piece with backing vocals supplied by an abbey choir. While about a third of the tracks are arrangements of traditional compositions, the album proves that Irish music is not just a couple of fiddles and a tin whistle, but covers a wide variety of musical styles. My favourite is the traditional sounding "A River of Sound" which incorporates dozens of instruments played by some of Ireland's leading musicians such as Donal Lunny on bouzouki and Nollaig Casey on fiddle. These two musicians have performed in Australia as part of the annual Celebration of Irish Music concerts. The album is probably not everybody's cup of tea, but should please lovers of Irish music and the piano.