The rich musical tradition of Oriel (north Louth, south Armagh and east Monaghan) may not have garnered the attention of other regional styles, but on Oirialla it shines with a finesse that befits its long bardic heritage. The album features a newly minted foursome in fiddler Gerry O’Connor; his former Lá Lugh compadre, Breton guitarist Gilles le Bigot; flute player and singer Nuala Kennedy; and accordion player Martin Quinn. Oirialla quietly celebrates the bare-naked delicacy of its Scots-influenced repertoire, richly interwoven with more contemporary tunes and songs. Kennedy’s voice is an unfettered, lilting delight, and their inventive interpretation of Chicago fiddler Liz Carroll’s Mrs Carroll’s Strathspey revels in the boundless energy that courses through their tune book. A fine-boned, tantalising collection that unfurls itself at a delightfully leisurely pace.
Siobhan Long The Irish Times
Drawing on the rich musical heritage of the Oriel region, Gerry O'Connor, Nuala Kennedy, and Martin Quinn will be joined by Breton Guitarist Gilles le Bigot to showcase local songs and tunes many of which have been recorded for an album release in early 2012. With strong influences from Scotland and Europe, Oriel music has developed as an eclectic mix of rhythms and melodies with strong poetical lyrics to the regional songs.
Gerry hails from Dundalk and is the product of four generations of fiddle players. His past recordings have focused strongly on local music and his work as a soloist and as a band member of Lá Lugh and Skylark is well known across the world. Over the past two decades he has recorded and performed with all the leading performers of the Irish music world including members of the Chieftains, Boys of the Lough, Planxty, De Dannan and Bothy Band. His solo album Journeyman has been hailed as one of the significant albums of Irish fiddle music. Gerry is also a violin-maker, music teacher and music producer and is currently directing a Traditional Music Initiative with over 100 students in a number of primary schools in the Drogheda area.
Nuala Kennedy is a singer and flautist playing traditional music from Scotland, Ireland and from the fathomless realms of her own imagination. Her debut traditional album ‘The New Shoes’ was voted album of the week in the Irish Times and was featured in Hotpress’ Top Ten Folk Albums of 2009. Her second solo album ‘Tune In’ was voted as one of the top ten albums of 2010 by Irish Times readers. She has worked with a diverse range of artists including Will Oldham, Norman Blake, Euros Childs, Cathal McConnell, Caoimhin O’Raghaillaigh and the late great Canadian composer Oliver Schroer with whom she recorded ‘Enthralled’, a duo album of original compositions due to be released in 2011.
Martin comes from a family of musicians and raconteurs of traditional stories from just outside the village of Mullaghabane in South Armagh. He has performed and recorded with a number of eminent line-ups including Lá Lugh, Dorsa, Josephine Keegan, Angelina Carberry, Paul Bradley and Cathal McConnell. His self-titled album with Angelina Carberry was included in the top 10 list of Traditional recordings by Earle Hitchner of the Irish Echo, a prominent newspaper within the Irish-American community in USA. Martin has developed an innovative and unique approach to playing the bass on the Button Accordion, developing and tuning new chords for the instrument based on the regulators of the Uilleann Pipes. He is also in keen demand as a restorer of accordion restorers and also as an accordion tutor.
The guitarist Gilles Le Bigot, is best known in Brittany as the co-founder of the groups Skolvan and Barzaz. Since the early 1980's his work as guitar-player and composer is characterized by the" open-tuning" style. Gilles recorded and performed with Lá Lugh throughout the 1990s and has continued to work with Gerry O’Connor since that time recording a duo album with him in 2006. As well as collaborating on several major recordings such as " l'Héritage des Celtes" by Dan Ar Braz , and "Azéliziza " by Le Bagad Kemper, he has performed and recorded with Kornog, Slovan, Barzaz, Fiddle Rendevous and his own trio line-up, Empreintes with Jean Michel Veillon and Marthe Vassalo.