Gearóid Ó hAllmhuráin & Patrick Ourceau




Celtic Crossings – CC0299-02; 48 minutes; 1999


A superb CD, definitely one of the best of the year, by Clare concertina player Gearóid Ó hAllmhuráin and French-born fiddler Patrick Ourceau, whose command of the East Clare idiom is simply stunning.


First off, the combination of concertina and fiddle is one of the best in the business--for proof, if needed, I refer you to the all-time classic Noel Hill and Tony Linnane duet record. Gearóid and Patrick play incredibly tightly, and with great soul, in that seemingly nonchalant, unhurried, bluesy way which one associates with the music of East Clare and East Galway yet without the posturing of certain other fiddler from that area. Their repertoire pays tribute to all the great players of the area, Canny, Hayes, Fahey, Cooley, Kelly[1], etc. Gearóid and Patrick have surrounded themselves with stellar accompanists as well, Felix Dolan, his son Brendan, and Barbara MacDonald Magone on piano, and Eamon O'Leary on guitar. In fact, the CD is so satisfying on so many levels, from the great music to the exquisite artwork, the record notes which are as captivating as a summer novel, the wonderful old photographs of those who came before and who are the subject of much of the "tracin'," musical and otherwise.



This review by Philippe Varlet was originally written for his Celtic Grooves Newsletter and appears here by kind permission of the author.


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[1] I am uncertain which Kelly is meant here. The fiddler and concertina player John Kelly came from the very westernmost point in Clare, Loop Head, and Patrick Kelly, the fiddler, hailed from Cree, also in West Clare.