Uilleann pipes and whistle maestro Cillian Vallely and talented young fiddler David Doocey have teamed up, inaugurating their new collaboration with the release of The Yew and The Orchard, a collection of old and new tunes, including six self-penned ones, arranged and recorded with a line up including Sean Og Graham, Patrick Doocey and Caoimhin Vallely.
One might expect, given the names printed on the cover, a series of foot-tapping jigs and reels; if so, you will not be disappointed. Even from the first track, namely Billy Rushe’s / Jim Collin’s Rambles / The Pride of Rockchapel, it is clear that breathtaking dexterity will be the key feature of this release, a sensation that’s confirmed as one proceeds along the tracklist.
The brisk The Worcester Reel / St. Ruth’s Bush/ Gay Cassidy’s is perhaps the highest peak of their virtuoso playing. It starts with a delicate touch by Og Graham’s guitar, but Doocey’s fiddle and later Vallely’s pipes rapidly take centre stage with a display of exquisite technique.
However, there are also some very evocative slow paced tunes on this album. Take for example the modern classic Elk River Blues or the melancholic Peacock’s Feather, both presented in a slightly different flavour than the ones we are used to.
The whole release feels like a delicate and playful dance where the fiddle and the uilleann pipes, the latter sometimes replaced by the whistles, gracefully combine or move around each other to create ever changing harmonies. The instruments are just natural extensions of these musicians’ bodies, as they dive into traditional tunes, many of which have not often been recorded before, with a mix of boldness and spontaneity.
The Yew and the Orchard is an album for everyone, a captivating collection of tunes with real drive and bite, that gets every listener looking forward to seeing these artists live.
Released November 27 2023 on CD.
1. Billy Rushe’s /Jim Collin’s Rambles / The Pride of Rockchapel
2. Mickey Callaghan’s Fancy / The Glentown Reel / The Fairhaired Boy / O’Reilly’s Greyhound
3. West Clare Railway / The Jug of Punch
4. The Cider Shack / Bolt the Door / I’d Rather Be Married than Left
5. Tha’m Buntàta Mor / The Bullet Thrower / Red Ned’s
6. The Worcester Reel / St. Ruth’s Bush / Gay Cassidy’s
7. Elk River Blues / Ryan’s
8. Heights of Dart / Paddy Joe’s
9. James Byrne’s / Humours of Whiskey / Up and Down Again
10. The Lark’s March / An dTiocfaidh Tù Abhaile Liom
11. A Ogànaigh an Chùil Chraobhaigh / Peacock’s Feather
12. Big Pat’s / Scotch Mary / Oot be Est da Vong