Reference: CICD 174
In this impressive album Kiltyclogher, Leitrim, native fiddler Ben Lennon, now in his 80s, finds an inspired partner in Glin, Limerick, concertinist Tony O'Connell, who's nearly half a century younger. Any consideration of age dissolves in the youthful vigor both musicians give to their playing. Lennon draws out the melodic richness of a tune while executing ornaments with enviable control, and matching him in tempo and touch is O'Connell, who understands and follows Lennon's preference for playing unpantingly.
A new album from Ben Lennon, fiddle, and Tony O'Connell, concertina. Ben Lennon is a legendary figure in traditional Irish music circles, a fiddler from Co. Leitrim and although almost fifty years separate Ben from his fellow musician on this album, Tony O'Connell from west Limerick, there is an undeniable musical connection between them. David Lennon, Ben's son, says in his introduction to the CD: ‘Tony is probably the most empathetic musician I have heard my father play with. There is an understanding of phrasing, time and nuance that one finds only rarely in any musical form.' This is O'Connell's second album; his first album was recorded with another Leitrim fiddler, Andy Morrow, and was released to critical acclaim in 2005. The album came second in the top ten albums of 2005 of highly-respected traditional Irish music reviewer Earle Hitchner of the Irish Echo, second, interestingly, to the album Within a Mile of Kilty released on the Cló Iar-Chonnachta label that year and featuring Ben and Charlie Lennon, as well as four other superb Leitrim fiddlers.
Rossinver Braes features both traditional and newly-composed tunes. Several of Charlie Lennon's compositions are included, including the hornpipe that gives the album its title, named after the village where Ben now lives. Charlie also composed two barn dances in honour of the musicians while the album was being recorded at his Cuan Studios outside Spiddal, ‘Lord Leitrim' and ‘The Earl of Thomond', tunes which he feels reflect the spirit of both musicians and their dynamic playing together. The tune selection leans toward the Sligo-Leitrim area and includes many tunes associated with Michael Coleman and James Morrison. Accompaniment is provided by Charlie Lennon (piano), Alec Finn (bouzouki) and Jerry McNamara (guitar).