Masters Of Their Craft
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Masters Of Their Craft

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Masters Of Their Craft is a compilation release on the Tara Music label containing eighteen tracks from some of the foremost artists and groups in the world of Irish music.
Over the last thirty years Tara Music has been privileged to have recorded and worked with artists such as Clannad, Planxty, Shaun Davey, Stockton’s Wing, Christy Moore, Moving Hearts and many more. This compilation portrays these artists performing at their best, with their music spanning genres from World Music to Contempory Irish and Folk.

Much of the music on this album has successfully pushed the musical boundaries of Irish traditional music to a more contempory level. This would be depicted by composer Shaun Davey composing music for Irish Uilleann Pipes and Orchestra, or Andy Irvine for the introduction and integration of Bulgarian dance tunes into Planxty’s repertoire, or the fusion of Irish and Spanish pipes music with Liam O’Flynn and Carlos Núñez……. the examples are many.

This album contains tracks from: master uilleann piper Liam O’Flynn with An Droichead (The Bridge) featuring Mark Knopfler, and composed for the inauguration of Ireland’s Presedent, Mary McAleese. Top Galician piper Carlos Núñez also features with Liam on Muiñeira de Poio / Muiñeira de Ourense. Ireland’s first supergroup Planxty recorded two outstanding albums on the Tara label which included the tracks The Good Ship Kangaroo and Smeceno Horo.
Leading Irish composer Shaun Davey is represented with Dia Do Bheathasa and May We Never Have To Say Goodbye from the music he composed for the opening ceremony for the Special Olympics in Ireland in 2003.
One of the first artists to record on the Tara label was a young folk singer by the name of Christy Moore with songs like The Crack Was Ninety In The Isle Of Man and Black Is The Colour Of My True Love's Hair. Another supergroup to record for Tara was the family group from Donegal - Clannad, and here they perform An tUll and Mhórag's Na Horo Gheallaidh. Whistle player and piper Davy Spillane made his name with Moving Hearts before recording a number of solo albums for Tara, here he is joined by Bela Fleck and Jerry Douglas for Daire's Dream and Atlantic Bridge.
World renowned Stockton’s Wing perform their first big hit song Beautiful Affair and a rousing set of tunes The Rossclogher Jigs. The enchanting voice of the often underrated Rita Connolly presents Ripples In The Rockpools and Amiens, both composed by Shaun Davey
Also included are tracks by the innovative Moving Hearts performing The Storm and the superb fiddle and guitar duo Nollaig Casey & Arty McGlynn with Jack Palance's Reel.

"The theme of boundary pushing is the focus of the album which opens to Moving Hearts title track from ‘The Storm’ (1985), founded in 1981 by Dónal Lunny (bouzouki) and Christy Moore (vocals and bodhrán) they blended traditional with a very modern sound which again pushed traditional Irish music to a more contemporary level....
The album is well rounded in selections and some speak louder than others but this is, as always, dependent on the listener. It does offer diversity and you do feel the stretch of time…some have greater longevity than others but for me Planxty still are the most ground-breaking traditional Irish band and their music spoke loud and clear on this album as did Christy Moore’s early live album. But I also know for a fact there will be those who find this album a nostalgic trip down memory lane so go on and enjoy it!
"
Folk Radio UK - Read full review HERE

Over their many years in music production, Tara Music have recorded some of the best and biggest names in Irish music. Many of these performers started their professional careers with Tara and this compilation reflects the wealth of talent that have passed through their doors. Christy Moore, Planxty, Clannad, Stockton's Wing and Davy Spillane amongst many others all started their recording careers with Tara and, as we all know, the rest is history!

As compilations go, this is a varied collection – from the classic sound of Planxty's Smeceno Horo to the classical sound of Shaun Davey's May We Never Have To Say Goodbye and all points in between. There is plenty here to suit all tastes - the rocky piping of The Storm by Davy Spillane, the fun of a live version of The Craic Was 90 In The Isle Of Man from a very young sounding Christy Moore, the clarity of Liam O'Flynn and Carlos Nunez's piping in Muiñeira De Poio / Muiñeira De Ourense, timeless tracks like Mhórag's Na Horo Gheallaidh from Clannad and many, many more.

Plenty of other greats are featured on the CD - Moving Hearts, Rita Connolly, Nollaig Casey and Arty McGlynn.

The liner notes give us information on the original albums from which the tracks are taken, along with some background information on the artists themselves.

Altogether a superb collection - 18 tracks of some of the best ground breaking artists of their time, many of whom continue to greatly influence the direction of Irish music today. Well done to Tara Music for what is a great sampler of their back catalogue.

Jim Byrne - The Living Tradition

"Here’s a good question: if you are an experienced Irish music lover, is there any reason to buy compendium albums? The answer is assuredly, yes. No matter how much time you spend in Irish music, there are hundreds or thousands of songs, tunes, and singers whom you have not heard. Look, everyone knows what they like. That takes no knowledge or experience. You either like Clannad or not. Christy Moore, or not. De Dannan or not. It is a far different thing to really know Irish music at its core. So yes, unless you’re an expert (and how many actual experts are there?) there is much to be gained from a wonderful compendium album. Which brings us to the Tara-released, Masters of Their Craft. There are so many treats here that even those of us who live in this, haven’t heard a few. Listen to this line-up: Shaun Davey, Rita Connelly, Stockton’s Wing, Clannad, Moving Hearts, Planxty, Christy Moore, Davy Spillane, Liam O‘Flynn, Nollaig Casey and Arty McGlynn.  The deal is that Tara is one of the three great labels in Irish music. Therefore, any compendium album of music from Tara has to be terrific.
That doesn’t mean that you are going to like every one of the 18 cuts. You’re not. And, in a perverse way, that is exactly the point. If, like me, you think that Smenceno Horo by Planxty is a dreadful assault on the ears which leads the listener to wonder why it is even on an Irish CD, you will not be alone. Planxty has a lot of explaining to do for that little “gem”. Again, that’s the point, because on this same album you’ll find wondrous things such as two less frequently heard compositions by Shaun Davy, Ireland’s greatest composer. You will also hear a magical piece of work called Muineira De Poio by piper, Liam O’Flynn and the wonderful Galician piper, Carlos Nunez. Magic.
It follows that one of Ireland’s top three labels, Tara, would release something this tasty. But, it is not just that you will love the overwhelming majority of these tunes, it is that you will also receive an education of the ear and heart. You’ll find new favourites, and be reminded why you love some of the old friends. The variety is stunning. If you don’t care for the drums in Stockton’s Wing, you’ll love the traditional perfection of the iconic, The Good Ship Kangaroo by the aforementioned, Planxty.
Daire’s Dream by Davy Spillane is gorgeous and a treat. A real treat. Masters of Their Craft may not deepen your technical understanding of the complexities of Irish music. However, it will deepen your appreciation. If you are an experienced Irish music lover, what is better than hearing old friends while discovering the new? If you are new to the scene, brace yourself, you are in for a wonderful journey and Masters of Their Craft is the vehicle to begin the trip. We know that the iconic, www.taramusic.com has this available. Just go to them online.
There is a commonly held believe among Irish record companies and producers that compendium albums do not sell well in the British Isles because people are already familiar with the contents. They do, however, sell well in the United States. This assumes the old Irish shibboleth about the musically ignorant Yank. If it is true that compendiums sell better in the States, there is another reason. CDs are far more expensive in Europe. Therefore, listeners are not as liable to take an economic toss of the dice to discover some new tunes. In America, we can afford to fully enjoy what a compendium experience brings to the table.  Be it Europe or America—or anywhere else, compendium albums are a unique gift. A good one can actually reinvigorate your musical enjoyment. Masters of Their Craft is a really good one. Big time. We heartily recommend it to all lovers of Irish music, whether you really understand the art form, or like 98% of the listeners, “just know what you like”. Just know that you will like this, a whole bunch."

Bill Margeson-  Irish American News Chicago

 

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