Tuning the Road
Début solo album by Louise Mulcahy. Each of the fourteen fascinating selections here is the tip of a pyramid of conisdered choice. And indeed of a power of musical exploration, for Louise plays iwth equal finesse on C, D and E flat flutes, whistle and C uilleann pipes. Tracks are grouped to hold the distinctive feel of each of these, particularly so of the pipes on which she has a profoundly evocative 'old style'. On this instrument one can indeed close one's eys and, in reverie, be with Séamus Ennis and Willie Clancy at the first magical Píobairí UIlleann tionóil at Bettystown and Ballymahon.
Such stylistic nuance as well as technique is to be found everywhere in the playing, notably in the contrast between the flute on the paced air 'Kean O'Hara' and the slow air 'Port na bPúcaí'.
Siobhán Long, The Irish Times, Friday, 9 May, 2014
* * * * (4 stars)
The natural kinship between pipe, flute and whistle are beautifully explored by Louise Mulcahy in her solo debut. Drawing on a rich well of tunes that filter years of experience into a distilled collection, Mulcahy's repertoire is as broad, welcoming and discerning as her instrumental virtuosity. Her flute style is fluid, unforced and rhythmically steady as much at ease with the goregous jig set, 'The Three Cats' as it is with the demanding (but divinely interpreted) west Kerry slow air, 'Port na bPúcaí'. Her sister Michelle's harp accompaniment is equally subtle and well-defined. Mulcahy's piping owes much to the bequest of Willie Clancy, but here she makes her own indelible mar: that of a musician very much at home with the music, and making it her own. Already a standout in a year of very fine music. cic.ie
Emmet O'Halloran, The Living Tradition, 2014
Tuning the Road
Cló Iar-Chonnacht CICD196
Review by Emmet O’Halloran, The Living Tradition magazine,
The Mulcahy name is well known among traditional music enthusiasts for being stalwarts of the tradition and ensuring its continuance for many generations to come. Tuning the Road is Louise’s debut solo album, having previously recorded with father Mick and sister Michelle. Throughout the 14 tracks, this excellent multi-instrumentalist demonstrates her strong musical ability on each of her three instruements, uilleann pipes, flute and tin whistle.
Each track stands out for the careful consideration taken in choosing tunes to match the particular instrument. There are two absolutely beautiful slow airs played with the heart and feeling that is necessary of such a tune but must be expected from a musician of this calibre. Tehre is a broad mix of tunes across the album, including a composition from Louise’s sister Michelle. I expecially enjoyed listening to the set of slides beginning with If I Had a Wife and the opening reel set which includes The Road To Old Decency.
Louise is accompanied by sister Michelle on harp and piano, and also by Colm Murphy on bodhrán. Their accompaniment is simply excellent and truly enhances Louise’s beautiful music. This album is not only for followers of whistle, flute or pipes, but it is one that should be marked down as a reference point for demonstrating to the listener an honest sens of the Irish musical tradition.
Interview excerpt from Irish Music Magazine 2014, John O'Regan chats with Louise Mulcahy on the release of her new album.
Tuning the Road is a mix of eloquent tunes ornately played and intelligently arranged. Recorded at Martin O’Malley’s Malbay Studeios it features Louise on flute, whistle and uilleann pipes with accompaniement from Michelle on harp and piano and Colm Murphy on bodhrán. “Recording a solo album has always been an ambition of mine. My family has been a great source of encouragement and support throughout the whole process and I was delighted when the time was right to record last October.”
Louise Mulcahy, Tuning the Road, review by Alex Monaghan, in Irish Music Magazine
Coming from a very well-known musical family, this fluter and piper has lived and breathed the music of Limerick, Clare and Kerry her whole life, recording several albums with her family. Studying in Dublin, and touring the world in recent years, louise has acquired a very broad experience of Irish music and related traditions which stands her in great stead for this debut solo CD. She’s accompanied by her equally talented sister Michelle on harp and piano, and by Com Murphy on his sensitive bodhrá,, but this album is Louise’s masterpiece from start to finish. rousing reels and jaunty jigs, an air or three, and the occasional hornpipe or slide make this a varied feast of mainly flute tunes, with three piping tracks and two selections on the humble tin whistle (often retailing for several hundred dollars these days).
Louise gests a wonderful mellow tone from the flute, rich low notes and pure clear upper register.
She achieves great volume without overblowing, and has the breath control to take things at her own pace. The Early Breakfast set is a fine example beautifully rolled and perfectly phrased. There’s pace aplenty in Padraig O’Keefee’s Jig and the two that come after it, as well as in the trio of slides which starts with the traditional If I Had a Wife and adds two compositions by Peadar O’Riada.
Most of the tunes here are from the tradition, but there are a few modern compositions, including several by fluter Paddy O’Donoghue, and a lovely reel by Michelle played on Bb whistle. The Carolan piece Kean O’Hara is a rarity with its unusual metre, not one I’d heard before. There’s a delightful flute version of the air Port na bPúcaí too, but I think I most enjoyed Louise’s lilting jigs on flute and whistle. Her piping is flowing and rhytmic, more in the Clancy mould than Ennis or Doran I’d say. With a set of hornpipes nicely dotted, and a terrific trio of classic pipe reels, Louise shows great style on both changer and regulators. The slow air The Bold Trainer O, in a version adapted from Liam O’Flynn’s playing, is powerful and elegant, soaring up to the top notes with ease, over simple but effective harmonies. With fine accompaniment, excellent sleeve notes, and photos which make the most of this photogenic performer and her seemingly constant smile, Turning the Road is an all round success.
Album nua ceoil
Sá tóir ar tunesPól Ó Muirí, Bileog, The Irish Times, 30/04/2014
Tá aithne ag mórán daoine ar Louise Mulcahy, bean óg a bhfuil clú uirthi as a cumas sa cheol traidisiúnta leis an fhéadóg mhór, na píb uilleann agus an fheadóg stáin. Bhí le cluinstin ar albaim roimhe seo lena hathair, Mick, agus a deirfiúr, Michelle agus is minic í ina haoi ar chláir raidió agus teilifíse. Chuir sí an tsraith, Geantraí, i láthair ar TG4 agus ní hiontas é, mar sin, go bhfuil an cumas sin le cluinstin ar a chéad halbam aonair, Tuning the Road, (Cló Iar-Chonnacht, €15) agus rogha mhór port ar fáil ann. “A welcome new collection,” a thugann Matt Molloy ar Tuning the Road.