Marcas O'Murchu,
Turas Ceoil
(Clo Iar-Chonnachta, 2006)

For the non-Gaelic speakers the title Turas Ceoil translates as "musical journey," and the album subtitle gives some indication of where the journey leads: "flute playing from the north and west of Ireland." But this is more than just flute playing. Such a narrow offering from Marcas O'Murchu would probably be a wonderful release, but on this CD you get that and more.

Running to 17 tracks, many combining sets of subsidiary tunes, you are invited to partake in a feast of music and be by turns amazed, surprised and mesmerized. Reaching back three centuries and leaping forward to today, O'Murchu gives us that rare treat of old and new music that sits easily side by side when played as well and as sincerely as it is by these great players.

Nowhere does the beauty of the music burst forth than on the set combining "The Sligo Fiddlers Farewell" and "My Dancing Bride," both composed by O'Murchu. "Blanchard's Waltz" brings together the flute and cittern while also combining the cultures of Ireland and Spain with guest Jose Climent on the track. He follows this with a set of jigs on which his flute playing is complemented by the fiddle of his niece, Nora.

Throughout this album you can enjoy pure, unadorned music. There are no tricks or elaborate arrangements. This is music from the heart -- that of the performer and the land.

The CD has a beautifully produced bilingual colour booklet detailing the tunes and the background of how they were chosen.

by Nicky Rossiter
14 October 2006