nollaig_arty_01.jpg (10156 bytes) Nollaig Casey
& Arty McGlynn




"Reflecting the disparate backgrounds of these two exceptionally able players, Causeway is evenly divided between up-tempo instrumental pieces with a full rock backing and more conventional, traditionally arranged tunes and songs.

Guitar player McGlynn's jazz and R&B leanings are reflected in the title track, a rollicking instrumental with guitar, fiddle and
Hammond organ, laid over a propulsive rockabilly rhythm. Cabbage and Cale is a Neville Brothers-style funky blues with a similar instrumental overlay - plus the addition of Brendan Power's adept harmonica playing to create a thrilling effect. A lazy JJ Cale groove permeates Commanche Moon, while Jack Palances Reel sees McGlynn lucking his Telecaster like a demented Nashville picker - on Guinness!

Offering a complete change of pace, Seo Leo Tholl is an enchanting lullaby sung by casey and showcasing her colourful, resonant voice. Likewise with the treatment given to the popular emigration ballad A Stor Mo Chroi and 'Dun Na Sead', a more atmospheric piece with a fuller orchestral effect.
The cinematic Rainy Summer could easily be from a Neil Simon film soundtrack, while the closing track Fort of the Fairy Queen reveals Casey's richly expressive fiddle-playing on an uplifting dynamic and highly satisfying piece. An album of two parts and one that might upset some of the purists (if any still exist), Causeway succeeds in taking a refreshingly loose interpretation of Irish music and blending it with outside, mainly American influences. Very effectively too."

Colm O'Hare - Hotpress magazine



"Causeway is a completely progressive album. While the songs are dealt with in an orthodox way the tunes are much less traditional. The driving force for this style seems to come from McGlynn himself who brings his complete knowledge of jazz and blues to bear on Irish music.

He has always been an imaginative player and the blues/jazz texture of this album has been double-stitched with the help of harmonica player Brendan Power.

McGlynn comes from the North and Nollaig comes from
Cork, but Causeway is not affected by regional style at all, preferring instead a sound that is much broader, contemporary, light and refreshing.
It would not be exactly correct to call this traditional Irish music but it is certainly music that comes out of the tradition of
Lloyd Gorman - Irish Music Magazine


"It was clear from the opening bars of their set just why Casey and McGlynn attract so much interest. Casey's lyrical, singing fiddle, glanced and glided over and around McGlynn's richly imaginative harmonies, all expressed with an understanding which at times seemed almost the product of a single mind."
Kenny Mathieson - The Scotsman


"Guitarist Arty McGlynn shared an interesting personal memory with the packed audience at the Festival's Harp Club. for it was at the Harp Folk Club, as it was then known, that in 1978, as a comparatively unknown showband musician, he appeared as a guest of folk singer David Hammond.
He stunned the crowd that night with the brillance of his guitar playing of traditional tunes and went on to become one of today's major figures on the Irish muisc scene.

As he says 'It was a night which changed my life'.

So it was as a main attraction that he now returned to the Harp Club with his wife, the fiddle player Nollaig Casey, to take us through a selection of tunes from their Causeway album.
Their consummate musicianship, with McGlynn's articulate chords and single string runs accentuating his wife's graceful fiddle work in fast dance tunes and stately airs, was acknowledged rapturously by the audience.

There's no substitute for class."

Neil Johnston - Belfast Telegraph


"Casey produces a great range of sounds with her bow, from the silky sweet to the rough hewn, and her playing of slow airs suggests that - though the lyrics may be unsung - they must be in her mind as she plays, she does actually sing too. To say McGlynn provided accompaniment would be a crime of over-simplification. His fleet unison lines gave the jigs and reels huge momentum and his chordal patterns, full of bass lines come in an apparently infinite variety."
Rob Adams - The
Glasgow Herald


"Nollaig Casey and Arty McGlynn between them share 40 years playing experience at the cutting edge of what might be termed modern Irish music. Both are exemplary musicians across a range of genres which include classical, blues, rock and popular. All come together on Causeway, their finest collaboration to date. Both contribute instrumental compositions, sometimes, not always emanating from the same musical source. The title track - McGlynn's composition, a reel for our times - sports a melody played on fiddle chasing a chugging funky engine of fender Telecaster, drums and Hammond, which resolves into a masterfully constructed wall of sound. Cabbage and Cale, also by McGlynn, is a subtle celebration of the groove master whose accents are as green as the proverbial. Rainy Summer is borne in on harmonica by Brendan Power, another musical multi-linguist, sharing riff and counter-riff with fiddle, guitar and Hammond in an elegantly jazzy invocation. Murals is an hypnotic soundscape of Fender Telecaster, harmonica and fiddle.

Nollaig Casey's compositions, by contrast, are more weighted towards the melodic, but despite the change in direction the transitions are seamless. Tra An Phearla announced on viola with full-sounding string and guitar arrangement, is a lushly orchestrated piece, while Lios Na Banriona , for fiddles and guitar brings Baroque and the traditional into sweet harmony.
An unexpected bonus is the inclusion of three songs, the delightful lullaby Seo leo Thoil, A Stor Mo Chroi and Dun Na Sead, sung by Nollaig casey."

Nuala O'Connor - The Irish Times


"In the world of Irish traditional music, the guitar may sometimes appear to have usurped the role of the bodhran as the instrument of choice of those whose zeal exceeds their ability. Arty McGlynn plays the guitar but there the similarity with other guitarists ends. Whether performing solo, as a duo or as part of a larger group, he brings a unique rhythmic and harmonic approach to the guitar, having developed a style that has continually pushed at the accepted boundaries of whichever type of music he happens to be performing.

In the course of an extremely engrossing concert at An Creagan centre, a capacity crowd which had braved the foggy winter night, heard Arty and violinist Nollaig Casey play a program which went far beyond the limits of most traditional fare.

Nollaig is not in any sense the junior partner in this duo. I resisted saying second fiddle. She is steeped in Irish music and also has the advantage of being classically trained, which is clearly audible in the impressive technique and tone she brings to her music. Several pieces such as the piper's slow air 'Moran's Return' were unearthed by her from manuscripts dating from 1844 and in the absence of her research, might otherwise have remained unheard. In an even older piece The Clergy's Lamentation she demonstrated how to accentuate the beauty of the melody by using only the very lightest vibrato, where less sensitive performers would show considerably less restraint or taste. One of her own compositions 'Lios na Banriona', with its carefully controlled pace and ornamentation, seems to hark back to an era when Irish music was not so far removed from its Italian and French counterparts.

Never one to move willingly into the spotlight, Arty shadowed the violin throughout the performance, playing melodies in unison, adding elegant harpsichord-like harmony or driving the music forward with a dropped D tuning rhythm. When he imposes complex cross-rhythms over a fast moving reel, the music is transformed and one begins to see how he can understand and emulate the complicated metre and rhythmic patterns of the Bulgarian and Galician music which were high points of the set.

It is this sense on rhythm and harmony that has been his essential contribution to the development of traditional music since the late 1970's. Apart from some well intentioned attempts at adapting American and English modal tunings to the solo performance of a few jigs and reels, up to then no other guitarist could be said to have made any real musical impression on the monolithic and extremely conservative traditional music world. Arty's good humoured account of how he was eventually invited into the inner sanctum need not obscure the fact the he basically invented a role for the guitar and continues to dominate his field. He also proved a useful translator, explaining to a mystified Nollaig that the title of the Cork slow air 'Cape Clear meant No Parking in rural Tyrone.

The audience was transfixed throughout this concert and two encores were required before the night ended. A performance of this calibre proves that Irish music in the hands of such gifted musicians can develop and absorb international influences without any threat to its own identity."
Paul Maguire - Ulster Herald

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