True Born Irishman Daoiri Farrell Daoiri Recordings/PIAS Young Irishman Daoiri (pronounced Derry) Farrell, championed by Eire folk musicians High Kings of Tara — aka Christy Moore and Donal Lunny — has accumulated more awards and accolades than you could chuck a shillelagh at, including an All Ireland Championship. Since Farrell possesses a rich and expressive voice that evokes Paul Brady and Andy Irvine in their prime, that’s really no surprise. Featuring the ornamentation and passion that characterise top-notch traditional Irish singing and the intricacies of high-level musicianship, arranging and recording, True Born Irishman captivates from go to whoa.
The luminosity of Farrell’s voice and, to a lesser extent, his bouzouki playing is matched by an uilleann pipes solo in a jaunty opening rendition of Fergus Russell’s travellers’ paean Pat Rainey. In the stripped-back Blue Tar Road, the first of two Liam Weldon songs, Farrell’s singing blends mellifluously with a pipes’ drone. In a banjo and guitar-dominated reading of Shay Healey’s This Town is Not Your Own, which also alludes to traveller discrimination, Farrell benefits from vocal backup. Another song once recorded by the mighty Wolfe Tones, Bryan MacMahon’s Valley of Knockanure, has yer man singing in more ornate and emotive fashion as he invokes the turbulent Black and Tans era. Enhanced by bodhran and flute, Fergie McCormack — Marcus Turner’s ditty about the flawed heroism of a Kiwi rugby player — provides humorous relief. Farrell’s take of the transportation standard Van Diemen’s Land builds impressively in intensity courtesy of an orchestral makeover.