Tara Music are delighted to announce the release of the first
studio album as a duo of Zoë Conway and John Mc Intyre entitled,
‘Go Mairir I Bhfad_Long Life To You’.
Back in November 2010 Zoë and John commissioned
twelve leading Irish composers to each compose a piece for fiddle
and guitar with the aim of collectively presenting a snapshot of
traditional Irish music alive today. The renowned composers who
took part in the project were Liz Carroll, Steve Cooney, Frankie
Gavin, Andy Irvine, Charlie Lennon, Donal Lunny, Máirtín
O’Connor, Peadar Ó Riada, Mícheál Ó
Súilleabhán, Tommy Peoples, Niall Vallely and Bill
no guidelines other than; “for fiddle and guitar, and between
3 and 6 minutes long”, the new music created for the recording
is a diverse variety of pieces and styles. All composers draw from
a deep knowledge of Irish traditional music, and they often show
influences from other parts of the world. The collection includes
familiar Irish music forms such as slow airs, jigs and reels, although
forms from other traditions are also present, for instance Irvine’s,
‘Twenty Two’ which is inspired by a Bulgarian dance
rhythm. Some of the new music remains firmly rooted in the tradition,
with carefully crafted melodies which are proud of heritage and
could have been written any time in the last 150 years, including
‘One for Sorrow, Two for Joy’ by Tommy Peoples and ‘Ríl
Zoë’ by Peadar O Riada. Despite the influences of jazz,
classical, eastern European and Latin modes and time signatures,
the album plays as a complete work. Pieces follow seamlessly in
a simple, uncluttered recording linked by two intimate instruments
and the constant thread of Irish musical heritage.
Zoë, no stranger to the stage, has performed
with an impressive list of international artists including Riverdance,
Damien Rice, Lou Reed, Nick Cave, Rodrigo y Gabriella. In contrast
to this, Zoë has been an important figure within the more classical
music circles in Ireland, as her discipline has allowed her the
pleasure of appearing as soloist with acclaimed orchestras such
as The Irish Chamber Orchestra and the BBC Symphony Orchestra; pieces
recited include works composed for her by world renowned Irish composer,
John began his career on a very different course,
as electric guitarist with indie band, The Revs. Through this he
has also known the privilege of performing on many famous stages
and festivals across the globe. John studied classical guitar as
a teenager, and has a strong background in traditional music, having
spent many summers in south west Donegal.
Together, Zoë and John are a musical force to be reckoned
with, and audiences in Ireland and beyond keep coming back for more.
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."
SIOBHÁN LONG - The Irish Times