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

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

'Stew of Complexity' in Speech Project at Glor

The Speech Project photo from Journal of Music 

I wasn't quite sure what to expect from Gerry Diver's Speech Project but that was part of the appeal and this fusion of audio and visual experiences made for a  fascinating and absorbing  evening.

Pizz Perfect Lisa Knapp
For starters we had a set of  simple folk songs delivered with great charm by Lisa Knapp,  one of the band members . An impressive septet of musicians led by Diver on fiddle spread out in front of the  large backdrop screen  The line up included two violins, cello, uilleann pipes, piano , two dulcimers with occasional splashes of other timbres.  The elements included snatches of interviews with iconic folk musicians with projected cinematic images based around the themes . The pieces were spun out of musical motifs suggested by the speech patterns in the spoken fragments. Opening with Christy Moore talking about his experience in London and closing with Joe Cooley near the end of    his life in New York ,  a segment reproduced in the video below. In between we heard from Margaret Barry (interviewed by the Lomax), local boy Martin Hayes , Danny Meehan, Damien Dempsey and Shane McGowan.  (The title of this post is drawn from Hayes' interview). The music drew from traditional and minimalist idioms and there was plenty to stimulate the aural and visual senses .
Speech Project at Glór

There were resonances with the work of modern minimalist musicians such as Gavin Bryars and Steve Reich. The matching of rhythms of speech patterns with musical phrases reminded me very much of Adam Corks work on the musical/opera,  London Road.  The abscence of percussion and string articulation was reminiscent of Penguin Cafe Orchestra but I found this experience rather more engaging enhanced with a the visual dimension.

Fiddle players in the audience included, Joan McNamara, Siobhán Peoples and  Diane Daly .

  You can hear my interview with  one of the band members violinist David Daly here.

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