Cormac Begley - thoroughly splendid, virtuoso concertina playing(April 20, 2017)
Rarely, if ever can I recall being so enthralled by concertina playing ... the self-titled debut album from Cormac Begley changed that in the most dramatic way possible. With a reputation that precedes this album, Begley is a bass, baritone, treble and piccolo concertina player from a West-Kerry. He has played in numerous projects ... duets, trios and bands, and now in a solo album of traditional Irish music. The album arrives with tunes that range from reels to polkas, schottisches to jigs, airs to slides, and it takes no time at all before you’re completely taken with the man’s musicianship.
The album opens with the powerful reels ‘The Yellow Tinker/ Ríl Mhór Bhaile An Chalaidh’ which instantly introduce you to a masterful level of concertina playing, from there it’s but a short step to the jaunty ‘Frenzy Polka’, lively schottisches ‘Joe Bane’s/ The Streamstown Jig’ and the spritely jig ‘An Cat Is A Máthair’ before the gentle air ‘Rocking The Cradle’. Throughout the album Begley ably demonstrates his skilled control of his instruments ... it’s often said that true masters can make instruments ‘talk’ ... Begley makes his concertinas speak volumes. The proof lies in such as the striking air ‘Beauty Deas an Oileain’, the infectious energy of ‘The Fermoy Lasses’ and the impressive ‘Merrily Kiss The Quaker/ The Lisheen Slide’.
The album releases on 21st April and if you want to hear the tradition blended with innovation, and some thoroughly splendid, virtuoso concertina playing then go out and buy a copy.
Review: Tim Carroll