The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - MUSICREVIEWS - SIOB­HÁN LONG

Go Mairir i bhFad – Long Life to You Tara Mu­sic ★★★★★ Some mu­si­cians han­ker af­ter the spot­light as much as they do the tunes. Oth­ers lure lis­ten­ers to the heart of the mu­sic – and then for bonus points, urge them to seek out the source them­selves. Whether it’s Glenn Gould’s in­can­des­cent read­ing of Bach’s

Gold­berg Vari­a­tions, Rein­hardt and Grap­pelli’s in­vig­o­rat­ing take on Euro­pean jazz and French gypsy mu­sic, or The Gloam­ing’s freeform in­ter­pre­ta­tion of the Ir­ish tradition, a two-way con­ver­sa­tion is at play.

In the beau­ti­fully ti­tled Go Mairir i bhFad - Long Life to You, their first al­bum as a duo, fid­dler Zoë Con­way and her gui­tarist hus­band, John McIn­tyre, have spurred a dozen new mu­si­cal con­ver­sa­tions by com­mis­sion­ing 12 new com­po­si­tions. From Peadar Ó Ri­ada’s gen­teel reel Ríl

Zoë to the soar­ing arcs of Máirtín O’Con­nor’s pos­i­tively Grapelli- es­que Trip to Gort, bor­ders are thrashed and bound­aries ig­nored – and all to deliri­ous ef­fect.

At the heart of this au­da­cious project is Con­way’s vir­tu­oso play­ing. The River­dance vet­eran is a mu­si­cian who can read­ily share a stage with a string quar­tet, a fel­low fid­dler or Lou Reed. Multi-lin­guist that she is, Con­way judges her com­pany by its qual­ity.

Sur­prises abound in this kalei­do­scope of tunes. Micheál Ó Suil­leab­háin’s Bóthar na Sop is mod­est in scope but its sin­u­ous flu­id­ity is supremely suited to the pair­ing of fid­dle and gui­tar. Andy Irvine’s Lago Puelo Jig – Twenty

Two tempts Con­way and McIn­tyre into his beloved com­plex Bul­gar­ian rhythms, and, in the process, basks in the fresh-faced light­ness of touch that Con­way’s fid­dle brings to the tune.

Martin Hayes and Den­nis Cahill have long spoilt us for choice with their in­ti­mate rein­ter­pre­ta­tion of tra­di­tional tunes on bare-boned fid­dle and gui­tar. Con­way and McIn­tyre are tak­ing those same in­stru­ments around a se­ries of hair­pin bends, they’re ac­quaint­ing us with a patch­work quilt wo­ven from tra­di­tional, clas­si­cal, jazz and Latin in­flu­ences.

Glo­ri­ously cosy bed­fel­lows they make too. zoe­and­john.com

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