Music and Reviews from Clare, Limerick, Waterford and sometimes further afield

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Zoe Conway and John McIntyre in session at SMB Courthouse

Zoe Conway and John McIntyre at SMB Folk Club
Music for a Found Harmonium Jeffe
Mazurka set
Slow Air Bessy the Beauty Toss the Feathers
Wild Strawberry Hill/The Horses Tail
Brid Og Ní Mhaille John

Decorate the Mahogany/ Ringing the Bell
Orange Blossom Special
Pair of jigs  An Fish Fliuch / Paidin O Rafferty
Taimse im Chodladh Song Zoe acc by John
New composition Liz Carroll
Tiger Desert Storm / Rounding Malin Head
Encore audience request Planxty Joe Burke  reel

Tea Committee
Some years ago I asked a group of musicians which of the fiddle players they had a enjoyed at the Willie Clancy  jamboree and without exception, Zoe Conway was the fiddle players' choice . I finally had a chance to hear this much lauded virtuoso live at at the Court House in Sixmilebridge, a venue where I have enjoyed many a night of excellent music making.  Over the course of the set Zoe demonstrated her versatility with a range of styles and a pure high soprano voice. She was skilfully accompanied by her husband John McIntyre who had a style  very suitable for this intimate setting .

There was much to enjoy in this accoustic session, a rare treat these days. The duo opened with Music for a Found Harmonium , the Penguin Cafe Orchestra hit now established a trad standard and  drew  tunes from a range of sources on both sides of the Atlantic  including a few of her own compositions. The Horses Tail demonstrated a range of virtuoso techniques including rapid string crossings, left and right hand pizzicato  and ricochet bowing.  Zoe combines seemingly effortless  virtuoso technique with eveness of tone and  a controlled wrist vibrato that is not overused. Both performers offered beautiful simple vocal renditions of songs as gaeilge.  Zoe introduced the pieces with anecdotes from  their performing career with. Perhaps the duet were most finely balanced in their playing of Grapelli and Reinhardt's,  Tiger Rag  ( posted below ). 

A noteworthy feature of any evening at SMB Folk Club  is that it is one one of the few venues where patrons are served tea and buns at the interval.  Such welcome hospitality is no  small effort and it gives the evening a very pleasant community social ambience .  By all accounts the first act of the evening the Full Set gave an energetic and entertaining set. Since my last visit a new lighting rig has been installed casting  suitably subdued illumination on the procedings. The programme for the club's Winter Music Weekend was officially launched at the gig this evening. Full Details can be found om

John McIntyre on a  new Irish music  Post show interview
John McIntyre talks about a new music project (mp3)

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