Daoirí Farrell – The Wedding Above In Glencree: Album Review

Fourth album from Irish troubadour Daoirí Farrell finds him in confident shape.

Release Date: 24th February 2023

Label: Daoiri Recordings

Format: digital / CD

It’s no secret that Daoirí Farrell has become a leading interpreter of traditional songs. With The Wedding Above In Glencree, he provides more ammunition for the fact as well as even taking the unprecedented step of recording one of his own tunes. The idea that the ten new recordings provide a combination of rawness, impact and beauty of his previous three albums gives a snapshot of expectancy.

He’s made an art of sourcing and interpreting songs, adding his own signature and casting them into the future. For starters he kicks off with two new arrangements; the first is the epic retelling of Father Murphy that digs deep into history and the rebellion of 1798 while One Starry Night is accompanied by a stark shruti/harmonium drone. The impact of Dublin’s An Góilin Traditional Singers club (with a mention in dispatches to the Munich Folk Club ) is evident again and reinforces the importance of these clubs in keeping traditional music alive and reinvigorated.

An Góilin has a lot to answer for, as the place where Daoiri where picked up the seven-minute epic title track – all nine verses- while adding his own tune that segues on seamlessly into a flying jig – or reel or both – whatever, it’s a belter of a tune that even the confirmed chair dancers will find an irresistible foot tapper. Damien Walsh’s simply raises the question of why he’s kept us waiting so long!? The extravaganza of the title track is described by Daoirí as: “recounting the tale of a chaotic wedding, celebrated to excess, that may well have been held in the Glencree valley…” We could suggest it’s Dylanesque or would that be tempting fate?

It’s not all about traditional songs though. Ron Hynes’ Sonny’s Dream is given a confident and passionate delivery. Taking someone’s song and having the legendary Jerry Douglas add some typically subtle but significant dobro – no pressure Daoirí. The effervescent drive of the finest arrangements comes on Sullivan’s John by Pecker Dunne (where you’ll find “a hairy ass fair in the County Clare“). The five-piece lineup whip up a real storm that’s maintained on Paddy Ban O’Brien’s Young Emmet rides waves of lively picking and whistles. Despite the less salubrious subject matter, it’s a fizzing groove. Paddy Kiernan on the 5 string banjo puts in a real shift here mirroring the sentiment of standing up for your beliefs.

Typically, The Wedding… isn’t without its light-hearted moments – along with the ring of his bouzouki and his unmatched vocal, a signature feature of a Daoirí Farrell album is ‘a song about a dog’; in this case the cautionary tale for betting folk in the unaccompanied Murphy’s Running Dog, whilst ‘Clasped To The Pig’ comes complete with a chorus that will surely be a bring-the-house-down moment when played live.

Not one to blow hos own trumpet, Daoirí would want us to shout out to a stellar cast of musicians that includes Manus Lunny (guitar, bouzouki and bass bouzouki), Paddy Kiernan (5-string banjo), Mark Redmond (uilleann pipes and whistles), Pat Daly (fiddle and harmonium), Trevor Hutchinson (upright bass), Robbie Walsh (hand pan and bodhran), Alan Doherty (whistles), Geoff Kinsella (tenor banjo.

A showcase for not only Daoirí Farrell and his crack band of brigands but for Irish music. How long will it be before Daoirí himself becomes the subject of the line ‘learned from the singing of Daoirí Farrell’? Well deserving of a pint o’ plain.

Here’s Sonny’s Dream from the album:

Daoirí Farrell online: Website / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Youtube

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