Classical Guitar Magazine Review of Contemporary Traditional Irish Guitar

November 17, 2010

Classical Guitar Magazine is the world’s foremost magazine related to classical guitar. I’m humbled and delighted to report that ‘Contemporary Traditional Irish Guitar’ has crossed the boundaries by receiving a great review from Paul Fowles to go with the excellent reviews in the folk music publications Sing Out! and Irish Music Magazine.

‘In an era dominated by fret-burning virtuosity, gently persuasive releases such as this are a rare and precious resource. Performing on nylon strings and using fiddle-based open string tunings, Dave Flynn, a John Feeley student and erstwhile member of the Dublin Guitar Quartet, presents his own refreshingly uncluttered settings of airs and reels from his native Ireland. The apparent contradiction in the main title, as Flynn explains in his notes, stems from the fact that, although the material mostly dates from the second half of the 20th century, the language is that of a long-standing folk tradition.

Drawing primarily on the reels of Paddy Fahey (b.1926), Flynn also fields his own Mahatma of the Glen alongside one-off contributions from Tommy Peoples, Ed Reavy, Liz Carroll, Larry Redican and Charlie Lennon. Thematic development is not high on the agenda, Flynn’s strategy being essentially to set up an idea and then let it ride until it’s time to move on. The effect is hypnotic, any urge to know what’s going to happen next soon being extinguished by the subtle allure of what’s happening now. As anyone who’s visited the Irish Republic will surely confirm, it’s precisely this lack of urgency that gives the areas outside the main cities so much of their charm. The cover shot of a shimmering lake and its distant green hinterland sums up the prevailing mood better than words ever could.

A significant niche release and one of the most effective chill-out discs ever to come my way.

Paul Fowles

Classical Guitar Magazine August 2010


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