Diarmuid O’Brien


Cairde Cairdín


Own label – DOB 1979; 55 minutes; 2007


This is another CD which arrived on my doormat one morning thanks to Charlie the postman, unannounced, but not entirely unexpected as I’d had the pleasure of seeing the West Limerick fiddler Diarmuid O’Brien in session a few years back and marked his name down as one to watch for the future.


You’ll be glad to know that this hugely enjoyable debut CD confirms that my talent-spotting nose is clearly still functioning at its optimum. (Ah, maybe I could have been the new Louis Walsh, but, then again, I lack the gumption and, moreover, the ability to sell guileless tack to the Irish population.)


Diarmuid is one of those fiddlers you’d like to wrap up in cotton wool and on whom a preservation order should be placed. For evidence look no further than the fourth track on Cairde Cairdín, a scintillating duet with accordionist Domhnall de Barra on a set of polkas kicked off by Cock Your Pistol, Charlie and completed by Gordie Taylor’s. The centre tune of that threesome is the well-known Martin Mulvihill’s and the composer of that tune, perhaps the most famous fiddler to emerge from West Limerick, would have recognised the swing and sway in Diarmuid’s playing.


Those with the Irish will have noticed the Cairdín element of the album’s title. The accordion tradition has long been strong in that cross-over region encompassing North Kerry, West Limerick and Northwest Cork (I might term it Sliabh Luachra, but that would be misleading in this context). Eleven of the album’s fourteen tracks consist of fiddle-accordion duets and the box-players, all drawn from the region, include Gerald Cullane, Donie Nolan, Dan Brouder, the aforementioned Domhnall de Barra, Willie Larkin, Dónal Murphy, Pa Foley, Mick Mulcahy and Derek Hickey. Some of those names may well be familiar, but, if not, the exemplary liner notes provide background biographical information (but if only they hadn’t been printed in white san serif font on a black background – a combination guaranteed to debilitate concentration).


Also to be mentioned are pianist Brian McGrath and guitarist Jerry McNamara who provide stalwart support throughout this utterly enjoyable album.


Geoff Wallis


7th March, 2008



More information about the Diarmuid visit at www.diarmuidobrien.com.


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