Donal Lunny

Mozaik, “The Long and the Short of It” – BOSTON IRISH REVIEW

Mozaik, “The Long and the Short of It” • This space sang the praises of Andy Irvine last month, with the recent release of his “Old Dog Long Road” retrospective. Well, here we go again, although in this endeavor he’s got plenty of company: old Planxty chum Donal Lunny, American old-timey musician Bruce Molsky, Dutch multi-instrumentalist Res van der Zalm, and Bulgarian Nikola Pirova. As Mozaik, these five have for almost two decades now been finding common ground between the Irish, Appalachian, and Balkan music traditions. And on this, the group’s third release (recorded in 2015 but only issued several months ago), they add yet another element: Greek folk music, in the person of guest vocalist Chrysoula Kechagioglou who, while only appearing on a quarter of the album’s 12 tracks, is an absolutely enchanting presence.

The sheer variety of instruments these guys play make up a small orchestra: bouzoukis, mandolins, harmonica, guitars, fiddles, five-string banjo, whistles, uilleann pipes, bodhran, and from the Balkans, the violin-like gadulka, kaval (a wind instrument) and the gaida (bagpipes). Irvine leads on four of the songs, Molsky two, adding Dublin and American voices to the mix. Not to be overlooked is another guest singer, Ágnes Herczku of Hungary, who vocalizes a Moldavian tune that leads into a dance melody (“Gyimes”). The overall effect is exotic to say the least: vintage Irish folk revival fretted-string accompaniment, old-timey/Appalachian drive, Eastern European rhythms and intervals – sometimes intertwining, other times set off against one another, but always holding together the vision of commonalities in cultures and music traditions.

In addition to fine renditions of traditional American songs “My Little Carpenter” and “Old Virginia,” Molsky holds forth on a pair of fiddle tunes, “The Black Hills Waltz” and “The Red Steer,” the latter at times resembling that great Irish reel “The Foxhunter’s.”  Irvine offers up a rather graphic whaling song from England, “The Coast of Peru,” the start of which features a Parov-van der Zalm duet on whistles that has a South American tint to it.

Irvine’s excellent songwriting is spotlighted here, too, with one of his trademark historical biographies, this time of the enigmatic, tragic Harry Houdini – who, as Irvine relates, for all his incredible feats most desired to escape from “the chains of eternity.” There’s also another in his series of memoirs from his youthful travels in Eastern Europe, “As Good As It Gets.” The song was on the album he recorded in 2017 as part of Usher’s Island (with Lunny, John Doyle, Michael McGoldrick and Paddy Glackin), but this was its earlier incarnation. It is particularly appropriate to the Mozaik repertoire, since this period of Irvine’s life was so integral to his involvement with Balkan/Eastern European music. And above all, it’s just a brilliant song – fun, playful, self-deprecating, a joyful reminiscence of being a young Irishman in the midst of overwhelming sensual wonders.

But the real gem is “Rainbow ’Mid the Willows,” Irvine’s take on an Ozark ballad sung by the legendary Arkansas singer Almeda Riddle – he wrote a couple of new verses and adapted a melody by UK musician Chris Algar. It’s a powerful tale of forbidden romance, lyrics full of intense, vivid emotions, yet Irvine and the band treat the song with a gentle poignancy.

Which sets the stage for the next track, Kechagioglou’s outstanding performance of “The Song of the Nightingale,” a traditional song from Thrace (translated, for the most part, into English) that presents as a parable on wealth and poverty. The delicacy and sensitivity of the arrangement complements Kechagioglou’s warm, engaging vocals. She’s also featured on “Like a Soft Breeze,” a setting of a poem by Napoleon Lapathiotis, duets with Molsky on “My Little Carpenter” and – in an indication of the band’s respect for her – does an a cappella solo to close out the album: “Neratzoula,” a song passed along to Kechagioglou by her grandmother who as a young woman, Kechagioglou writes in the liner notes, “was rough, ran faster than anybody else, and had the voice of an angel.”

However one might laud Kechagioglou, Irvine and Molsky on “The Long and the Short of It,” the artistry of Lunny, Parov and van der Zalm should not be overlooked. Like its namesake art form, Mozaik can be admired for both its carefully arranged and assembled individual pieces and the greater-than-the-sum-of-its-parts picture it produces.  [andyirvine.com/disc/Mozaik-disc-new.html]

SOURCE: www.bostonirish.com

Andy Irvine & Paul Brady announce extra show at Vicar St. for March 2020

Andy Irvine “Old Dog Long Road – Vol.1 (1961-2012)” [AK-8] – New 2CD Retrospective album is out now – October 2019

Andy Irvine was born in 1942 and he started recording for his own enjoyment back in 1960 when
his mother bought him a heavy reel-to-reel tape recorder. ere are some very rare tracks from his
early days even before he became a professional musician and there are recordings of his busking
days in Germany by himself or with Johnny Moynihan. In the early 70s he made some demos for
Planxty in Dublin , one of them from this album, was never recorded. ere are a lot of recordings
from gigs that Andy has played over the last 50 years, mainly solo but some with his musical friends,
Dónal Lunny, Kevin Burke, Jackie Daly, Frankie Gavin, Rens van der Zalm and Gerry O’Berne, to
name but a few. Above all, this double album shows Andy’s remarkable ability to play highly complex
accompaniments at the same time as performing vocals of quality.

Old Dog Long Road

Price €20.00 

(including shipping costs)

Buy Now from AndyIrvine.com!

This is the first volume of recordings I made since 1961. They are not in any way intended as my latest albums and indeed, are issued as a limited edition, meant mainly for the ardent fan! The recordings are not always of studio quality in spite of the masterful sound manipulation of my dear friend the late Tim Martin who did a marvellous job of making even the most dubious old recording listenable. Many thanks to Leon O’Neill who also improved some difficult tracks.

I started recording for my own enjoyment back in 1960 when my mother bought me a heavy reel-to-reel tape recorder. Later I recorded songs so that I wouldn’t forget them and could go back and re-learn them. There are also many recordings made at gigs I have played around the world in the last 40 years. I would like to make special mention and give special thanks to Ray Barron of Cork who recorded so many of my shows in The Lobby Bar in Cork in the 90’s.

The bulk of these recordings are solo but there are some with great musicians I have played with over the years. Many thanks to Dónal Lunny, Rens van der Zalm, Johnny Moynihan, Frankie Gavin, Rick Epping, Kevin Burke, Jackie Daly and Gerry O’Beirne, all of whom appear on this first volume.
Thanks also to Jeremy Kearney for letting me use the Foxrock Folk Club recordings. More from that club in that period, with singers like Ronnie Drew and Luke Kelly, are available on “Live at Foxrock Folk Club – The Parish Hall Tapes 1970-72” (Cornelscourt Records CR 001).
If this album is well received, there will be a clatter more!!

Produced by Andy Irvine


Track list:

[Disc 1]
1. Goodbye Monday Blues (1999)
2. Farewell To Ballymoney (1978)
3. Green Grows The Laurel (2002)
4. King Bore And The Sandman (1978)
5. Down By Greer’s Grove (1995)
6. Dublin Lady (1971)
7. Little Stack Of Wheat / Humours Of Tullycrine (1993)
8. Jack Tar (1971)
9. Viva Zapata (1993)
10. Edward Connors (1986)
11. Lady Leroy (1972)
12. Bonny Light Horseman (1978)

[Disc 2]
1. Lost Train Blues (1971)
2. Captain Colston (1995)
3. Kilgrain Hare (1985)
4. Chetvorno Horo (1993)
5. Reuben’s Train (1968)
6. Longford Weaver / Christmas Eve (1978)
7. Come All Ye Fisher Lassies (1969)
8. Captain Thunderbolt (1995)
9. Seamen Three (1981)
10. Truckin’ Little Baby (1961)
11. The Titanic (2012)
12. Sweet Lisbweemore (1995)