On this page, we present occasional short reviews of albums which
particularly feature the bodhrán.
Needless to say, the copyright applies to these articles as to everything else in these pages.
Pure BodhránPure Bodhrán is a compilation album, in fact a two CD set, featuring 19 of the more infamous bodhrán-players from as far back as 1927. It is a graphic demonstration of how bodhrán playing has changed over the years up to 2000.
I enjoyed the album. Grady follows the music closely, demonstrating impressive technical proficiency in rhythm, tone, and pitch. Several times, I was struck by the beauty of his rhythmic embroidery. I especially enjoyed the contrasts he created by introducing other percussion into Irish traditional music; I thought his conga work was particularly inspired. My personal taste runs to a somewhat lighter and sparser style than Grady uses in most of the cuts, that supports and enhances the music rather than leading it and sometimes overpowering it, but throughout the album, I was impressed by his virtuosity.
Anyone who loves Irish percussion will enjoy this album. Any bodhránist who wants a catalogue of technical skills is not likely to find a better example. The album is privately published, available from Grady at his concerts or at home: 94 Angell Road, Cumberland, RI 02864, phone (401) 333-2293, e-mail BodhranPro@aol.com.
I've only heard a few selections from the album; those ranged from British Isles folk music squarely in the Steeleye Span style to traditional Irish tunes. These cuts -- Glasgow Peggy/Red-haired Boy; The Blacksmith; and Geordie -- prominently feature Toney's bodhrán work. Toney displays considerable skill at the bodhrán. His rhythms are generally enhancements to the music, and he shows good pitch control in his solo after Geordie. The solo didn't seem to flow from the song as well as one would hope. I felt Toney was over-playing the drum throughout these pieces. When struck lightly, the bodhrán sings; when hit too hard, it thumps. Toney may have aimed for the latter sound: His drumming is also miked with lots of reverb, so they might have wanted a particularly dull, thumping sound to complement their high, light-sounding instruments. But I missed the delicate interplay of percussion and melody that the bodhrán can achieve.
The album can be ordered from the band.
Reviews of other albums in which the bodhrán is not so prominent are here.
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Last updated 30 Sept 1999