Liam O'Flynn : Uilleann Pipes, Whistle
Arty McGlynn : Guitar
Steve Cooney : Guitar
Rod McVey : Keyboards, Harmonium
Liam Bradley : Percussion
Mark Knopfler : Electric guitar
Sean Keane : Fiddle
Matt Molloy : Flute
Carlos Núñez : Gaita, Ocarina, Whistles
Orchestra : Irish Chamber Orchestra - Artistic Director
Horns : Ian Dakin / Fergus O'Carroll
Orchestral Arrangement : Micheál O'Súilleabháin
Produced by : Liam O'Flynn and Arty McGlynn
Executive Producers : Mick Barry and John Cook
Recording Engineers : Ciaran Byrne and Brian Masterson
Assistant Engineers : Ciaran Cahill, Richard McCullough
Recorded at : Studio Cooney, Dingle: Windmill Lane Studios
Dublin; Film Lighting Facilities, Dublin; Guinness Hopstore, Dublin;
1. The Humours of Kiltyclogher,
are two jigs which feel 'made' for the pipes and are played here
on the lower pitched or flat set. I was introduced to the first
by Arty McGlynn, while the second comes from the rich fiddle tradition
of Sliabh Luachra in Co. Kerry into which the late Julia Clifford
was born. She was a sister of the great fiddle player Denis Murphy
and was a great fiddle player in her own right.
2. The Pleasures of Hope, Rick's
The first of these tunes I always associate with the great
Clare fiddle player Joe Ryan and the times when we played together
in duet competitions. The second tune I discovered in recent years.
3. An Droichead (The Bridge)
During the recording of this album, much of which was done in
Stephen Cooney's studio in Ventry, Co. Kerry, I was honoured with
a request by Ireland's President Mary McAleese to write and perform
a piece of music for her inauguration. The music was be based
on the theme of her Presidency, An Droichead or Bridges. I was
fortunate to have the very generous assistance of Arty, Stephen
and Rod in this task. Mark Knopfler had already very kindly agreed
to guest on the album and this seemed the ideal piece on which
he would play. The elegance and eloquence of his playing is unique.
4. Miss Admiral Gordon's Strathspey
This tune I found while 'digging' through one of the many
collections of Scottish Music. It was composed by the great Scottish
fiddle player William Marshall (1748 - 1833), whom Robert Burns
pronounced "the first composer of strathspeys of the age". I think
its a tune with powerful inherent energy.
5. Sliabh Na mBan (The Women's
This is one of the greatest and best known Munster song-airs
and has been part of my repertoire from the beginning. It exists
in many versions associated with various political events, the
oldest being a 1798 song. But for me this is the classic version.
It takes its title from the mountain 'Sliabh NA mBan' near Clonmel,
in Co. Tipperary.
6. The Drunken Landlady, McKenna's Reels
The first of these three reels is yet another example of a great
tune with a wonderfully roguish title and I imagine there must
be a great story behind it! The two reels following are named
after the great Leitrim flute player John McKenna. It was great
to join forces here once again, with Matt Molloy and Sean Keane
- old friends and incomparable musicians.
7. Muiñeira de Poio / Muiñeira
These two Muiñeiras or Galacian jigs are named after the
towns of Poio and Ourense in Galicia located in the Northwest
of Spain, a region which has a very rich and thriving music tradition.
There is a striking similarity between these Muiñeiras
and our jig tunes, which can be explained by the presence of Irish
Battalions in this region during the 17th and 18th centuries.
During one of his trips to Ireland last year Carlos Núñez
recorded for me a selection of Galician tunes. The two tunes here,
together with those on the final track, were chosen from this
material. Carlos is a musician of outstanding ability and sensitivity.
8. Bean Dubh an Ghleanna (The Dark Woman of the Glen)
Here is another Munster song-air. A feature of these tunes is
their great musical sweep and scope. It first comes to light in
the 18th century and is a song of unrequited love. When Micheál
O'Súilleabháin and myself first talked about the
arrangement we both felt it should paint a picture which comes
out of the words. Hence the french-horns and their texture, combined
with the pipes, evoke a pastoral landscape which reflects the
song-text. Micheál has opted for a very interesting and
creative approach in his arrangement, which is so full of movement.
The arrangement, together with the magnificent playing of the
Irish Chamber Orchestra, is wholly sympathetic to the beauty and
grandeur of the air.
9. The Humours of Carrigaholt
These four reels are played on the flat set (B). The first,
The Humours of Carrigaholt, I heard played by the late John Kelly,
a great fiddle player and a fascinating man from Carrigaholt in
Co. Clare. This is followed by Major Harrison's Fedora, which
makes a very fine piping reel. The third, a really beautiful tune,
I unfortunately have never had a name for. Finally a reel I heard
from the great flute player and singer Cathal McConnell. Cathal
traces this tune to the Donegal fiddle player Johnny Doherty
10. The Gold Ring
Quiet simply one of the great classic piping tunes and this version
(seven parts in all) I heard directly from one of my great musical
heroes, uilleann piper Willie Clancy. It is a tune which offers
the player unlimited scope, which can be heard in Sean Keane's
11. Marcha de Breixo / Marcha de Lousame
first of these tunes is an ancient processional march that comes
from the area of Cedeira on the northwestern coast of Galicia,
a remote area of high ocean cliffs. In the small town of Breixo
(meaning Heather) on the day of the local patron saint, the pipers
lead pilgrims in a march round the chapel taking steps so small
that it takes one hour to complete the circle of the chapel. The
second tune also comes from the northern coast of Galicia and
was collected by Bal Y Gay in the first half of this century.
Musically it has the shape of an alborada (meaning sunrise). These
tunes are played on the mornings of fiestas.
Growing up in a family where both
parents loved to play traditional music and where visits from
musicians were commonplace it was not surprising that Liam O'Flynn
as a very young child developed a particular fascination with
the uilleann pipes. Liam's request for a set of pipes when he
was ten fell on his father's receptive ears and the following
decade saw him taking weekly lessons with the renowned piper and
pipe-maker Leo Rowsome. The often cited "seven years learning,
seven years practising, seven years playing" said to make up a
pipers apprenticeship saw Liam come to maturity as a master piper
at a time of great social change and intense musical innovation.
That he was equal to the agenda set by these challenges has been
evident since his first days as an ensemble player with Planxty
right through to his celebrated orchestral work. Centre stage
always in this schema is the figure of the solo piper connecting
with 300 years of piping tradition. All the creative forces in
Liam's playing converge at this point. This album bears eloquent
testimony to that imperative. Liam's music flows as a water from
a spring fed by sources deep underground. The ear delights in
its profound accomplishments; the heart rejoices in its truthfulness.
This album is dedicated to my
late mother Maisie and my father Liam.
To Arty McGlynn, Rod McVey and Stephen Cooney my sincerest
thanks for their enthusiasm, encouragement and inimitable music
Special Thanks To:
Philip King, Nuala O'Connor, Sarah Power and Tina Moran (Hummingbird
Productions), Nicholas Carolan and the staff of the Irish Traditional
Music Archive, Liam Cooney (Windmill Lane Studios), Ed Bicknell,
Robyn Becker and Glenn Saggers (Damage Management), Fernando Conde
(Keltia Produccións), John Kelly (ICO), Andres Rogge, Alan
Froment, Cathy Addis, Tiano Labraña, Killian O'Briain,
Bernard Loughlin, his wife Mary and all the staff of the Tyrone
Guthrie Centre, Annaghmakerrig.