The first thing to be said is that the music on this CD is first class, no gimmicks, syncopations or other distrations, just extremely good music played by exceptionally talented musicians, across a range of instruments, all played to a very high standard. The Mulcay family are universally acknowledged in traditional music circles as extraordinary musicians but what comes through on this CD is an implacable discernment, taste and respect for the continuity of the tradition.
A brief look at the track notes will reveal their influenes, sources and heroes, which includes tunes and settings from the old masters and also includes tunes by recent composers and younger musicians.
The Mulcahy family represents a new generation of musicians who have made a serious study of the music and are poised to bring it to a new height.
Follk & Roots Magazine, David Kidman
I first came across this family group on their 2006 album Notes From The Heart, a truly joyous piece of music-making that’s continued to give me pleasure still over the past decade. The intervening years have seen a further group album (Reelin’ In Tradition) and solo records by both Louise and Michelle, but the passage of time doesn’t appear to have dimmed the musicians’ playing one jot, for their latest release is simply one of the most sparkling tune-based albums you’re likely to hear. The keywords are vitality and togetherness – qualities their individual and collective musicianship has in spades. These attributes come with an easy familiarity that’s born of playing together for years – comfortable, yes, but by heck, is this comfort infectious, and the listener can’t help but be carried along!
The family team of father and two daughters hails from Abbeyfeale, Co. Limerick, and while some of their material continues to be rooted in the west Limerick and Sliabh Luachra styles, there’s representation from counties as far afield as Roscommon, Kerry, Sligo and Donegal, with a strong cross-pollination from other regions too, as might be expected from Mick, a master musician who’s moved around plying his trade (he spent a lot of time on the Camden scene in 1960s London, for instance). His daughters have clearly inherited Mick’s passion for making music, for their own playing shares that special combination of warmth and melodic flair which seemingly effortlessly offsets their undoubted virtuosity. Theirs is a virtuosity that doesn’t need to be proved or worn on the sleeve but just pours out with all the naturalness of speaking. And, unusually even among family groups, it’s a versatility that extends to several instruments apiece: Mick boxes clever on accordions, melodeon, and concertina, while Louise plays uilleann pipes and various flutes and Michelle excels on concertinas, fiddle, harp, and piano.
This flexibility enables them to constantly ring the changes with their skilled arrangements, not only in the obvious sense of varying the actual timbres on display but also in the sphere of role-switching. Perhaps my favourite of all the blends the family achieves is the concertina-pipes-fiddle combination, as on the vibrant set of jigs (track 10), but there are also delights aplenty in Michelle’s harp that both ripples through and underpins the texture as on the opening medley and the stirring set of hornpipes at track 3 (she also delivers a solo track, a finely graded reading of O’Carolan’s trusty Eleanor Plunkett). The uniformly strong character of Mick’s box-work is a signature of everything the group tackles, and yet there’s never a feeling that his box dominates unduly, even when he’s playing the dominant melody in tandem with Louise’s flute or Michelle’s concertina. Michelle moves to the piano for a number of tracks where she provides a graceful but firm accompaniment that ably underpins and enhances the animated melody parts. There’s no special pleading, no gimmicks, no studio tricks – just solid and unpretentious musicianship on a brilliantly chosen menu which sensibly takes in the “old masters” alongside more recently composed tunes (including one by Michelle and a couple by Mick himself). The booklet notes furnish detailed and enthusiastic expositions of the tunes’ sources, fully acknowledging the musicians and/or recordings from which they were learned.READ THE ORIGINAL REVIEW HERE: http://www.folkradio.co.uk/2016/10/mick-louise-michelle-mulcahy-reel-note/