Fancy fid­dling

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Musicreviews -

The arc of the bow and the del­i­cate mu­si­cal­ity of the four fid­dle strings are cel­e­brated with a rare mix of vir­tu­os­ity and sheer joie de vivre on 3. Ciarán Ó Maon­aigh and Ai­dan O’Don­nell al­ready siz­zled on their 2008 duo de­but, Fidil. Now, just 18 months later, they’ve mor­phed their de­but CD ti­tle to her­ald the ar­rival of a fid­dling trio, with fel­low Done­gal player Damien McGee­han join­ing their ranks.

Fid­dle trios are a rare sight­ing in the tra­di­tional mu­sic fir­ma­ment, and Fidil have carved a niche. Their sound soars with a con­fi­dence born of an in­tense love af­fair with their Done­gal in­her­i­tance. The high­lands set,

The Lad­die With the Plad­die, epit­o­mises the root­ed­ness of Fidil’s mu­sic, its ac­cent clearly defin­ing the shape of the tunes. Yet the in­ter­play of the three fid­dlers’ per­son­al­i­ties pro­pels it into the present, where they can make it their own, as they might turn a piece of long-cher­ished wood on a lathe.

How­ever, this is no straight-up col­lec­tion for tra­di­tional mu­sic lovers. Fidil’s read­ing of the

de­scrip­tive piece, The Hunt of the

Hound and the Hare, could be a mas­ter­class in the avant-garde, with its bold and sassy ex­ca­va­tion of the ex­cite­ment and ter­ror of the hunt, an­i­mated by an in­deli­ble cu­rios­ity about the ex­pe­ri­ence of both hunter and hunted. Even a well-worn reel such as The Pi­geon

at the Gate is in­vig­o­rated by the pirou­et­ting in­ter­play of the three fid­dles.

Here is a place where strings are plucked and ca­ressed, tick­led and swept into fresh air by three ex­cep­tional and am­bi­tious mu­si­cians who still cos­set the mu­sic of their home place with un­yield­ing af­fec­tion. 3 is a mas­ter­class in the mar­riage of tra­di­tion and mu­si­cal ex­plo­ration, and a mile­stone in tra­di­tional mu­sic. www.fidil­mu­sic.com

SIOB­HÁN LONG

Fid­dlers 3: Damien McGee­han, Ai­dan O’Don­nell and Ciarán Ó Maon­aigh

FIDIL

3 Claddagh Records

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