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Folk That: gently does it
Dingle's Philip King is back with another run of his acclaimed and super-intimate Full Set series.
Greg McAteer, 17 May 2008
I was talking to my mother last week and she was commenting on how moved she had been by the funeral mass for former President, Dr. Patrick Hillery.
What she had found particularly poignant was the unaccompanied version of the air ‘Inis Oirr’ played during the funeral mass. It brought it home again to me that, although there are some fantastic groups out there, Irish music is essentially a small music – by which I mean that intimacy best expresses the soul of Irish music. Go listen to ‘O Raghallaigh’s Grave’ by Dervish and tell me you’re not deeply touched by Liam Kelly’s solo flute in a way that the rest of the album, masterful though it might be, can’t match.
Philip King knows the value of this intimacy. With Other Voices he has almost built a genre round it and the return of The Full Set to RTÉ for a second series on Friday May 16 sees him approach the quiet space in music, where conversations can flourish, from a different perspective. This year the series is presented by singer and fiddler player Mairead Ní Mhaonaigh and features some of the finest duet combinations playing Irish music today. Like Other Voices, it was filmed in the evocative St James Church, Dingle.
The series includes duets and solo performances from De Dannan engine room Frankie Gavin (fiddle) and Máirtín O’Connor (accordion), the award winning Ciarán Ó Maoniagh (fiddle) and Aidan O’Donnell (fiddle), husband and wife Michael Rooney (harp) and June Nic Chormaic (flute). Clare master Martin Hayes (Fiddle) and Dennis Cahill (guitar) also join. West Kerry’s own Seamus Begley (accordion) and his son Eoin Begley (concertina) and the playful and innovative Caoimhin Ó Raghallaigh (fiddle) and Ronan Browne (uilleann pipes) complete the line up.
Jess Klein [pictured], who co-headlined a number of shows on the Guggenheim Grotto’s first US tour, lands here to play some shows over the next few days – straight off the back of a US tour with UFO label mate Damien Dempsey. Her live performances, stripped down and vulnerable, exude an emotional intimacy that has captivated US audiences for years. She has been reaping critical acclaim for last year’s City Garden – her most emotionally revealing album to date. She plays The Crane in Galway on Thursday May 8, Mullarkey’s in Clifden on Friday May 9, the Inishbofin Festival on Saturday May 10, Cork’s Half Moon Theatre on Sunday May 11 and wraps up the whistlestop tour with a night in Dublin’s Whelans on Thursday May 15.