Leonard Barry - Littoral

2024 studio album

Littoral - Leonard Barry

the bright young folk review

The latest addition to the discography of uilleann pipe-centred albums comes from a Sligo based artist and composer. Leonard Barry’s new release, appropriately named Littoral, is a collection of mainly traditional tunes, almost all performed on this iconic instrument and recorded with a great line up including Michael McGoldrick on flutes and Shane McGowan on guitar.

Energy is the word that pretty much sums up the entire album. From the opening set of jigs to the closing medley of reels, the listener is treated to a plethora of moderate to fast paced tunes, delivered with dexterity on simple but effective arrangements.

The redolent evergreen Aisling Ghael is the only pensive passage in a release full of verve, the only quiet haven in a compelling assortment of jolly dance tunes. The one track in which Barry displays his whistle playing is also the only set of tunes from outside the British Isles, La Valse de Pasteriaux / La Polverita Fiera.

The quality of playing and the exquisite technique showcased on this album are particularly palpable in the two most striking tracks, the spectacular set of reels Comronalty / The Mills are Grinding and jigs The Pipe in the Hog / The Fly in the Porter / The Stolen Purse, in which McGoldrick’s influence is more evident.

But dexterity would be nothing without interpretation, and here Barry’s distinctive lightness of touch really makes the difference, as every variation and embellishment only compliments these wisely chosen melodies.

Virtuosic, lively and traditional sounding, Littoral is a must-have for every uilleann piping connoisseur and, more generally, for every instrumental folk music enthusiast.

Michele Mele

Released on 26 January 2024 on CD and digitally. Produced by Michal McGoldrick, mixed by Michael McGoldrick, Leonard Barry and Brian McDonagh, recorded at The Magic Room, Sligo, by Brian McDonagh.

1. The Munster Rake / The Arra Mountains / Last Night’s Fun
2. Jimmy O’Reilly’s / Paddy’s Pet / Jigging Away the Donkey
3. Bedford Cross / The Knockaboul / Johnny Mick Dinny’s
4. Aisling Ghael
5. The 1st of May / The Few Bob
6. The Road to Monalea / Rigney’s / Paddy Fahy’s
7. The Pipe in the Bob / The Fly in the Porter / The Stolen Purse
8. Comronalty / The Mills Are Grinding
9. La Valse de Pasteriaux / La Polverita Fiera
10. Tom Busby’s / The Humours of Ballingarry
11. St. Ruth’s Bush / The Old Pensioner / The Monastereden Fancy

Leonard Barry discography