‘To Belfast...’ Conor Caldwell - incorporating and moulding explorative imaginings

(May 21, 2018)

The story behind any album is often known only to the artists involved, however the story that generated ‘To Belfast ... ‘ from Conor Caldwell is that of  Irish musician and ancient folk music To Belfast ... album covercollector Edward Bunting (1773 – 1843). During his life he published 'The Ancient Music of Ireland' in three volumes, yet as a classically trained musician, he misunderstood unique characteristics of Irish music, such as modes, and transcribing tunes he 'corrected' them according to classical music rules ... the result often creating impossibilities of performance. Now comes ‘To Belfast...’ based on that story and a study of Bunting’s work but incorporating and moulding explorative imaginings into a web of traditional and contemporary musicianship augmented by electronic soundscapes to take ancient expressions into another innovative realm.

The result is something both haunting and intriguing, combining rearranged traditions with original compositions to achieve an album of exceptional delight. The scope is breath-taking and the engagement comprehensive ... from ‘Let Erin Remember’ through ‘Mabla Sheimh ini Cheallaigh’ to ‘A Walk In The Park’ ... this will stay with you, you will listen and not forget. It’s important to state that with ‘To Belfast...’ you need time to absorb and appreciate the delicate, almost fragile nuances of this album ... background music this is not, for that is a disservice to artist and listener. And in that statement there is no criticism meant or implied, it’s simply to garner all that ‘To Belfast...’ has to offer demands your attention.


Review: Tim Carroll

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