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19 July 2001 Edition

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Jazz/Trad fusion works wonders

Music for Whistle & Guitar

Cormac Breatnach and Martin Dunlea

Titled simply, `Whistle & Guitar', this CD works wonders for the ears and the soul.

Breatnach, from a traditional Irish music background, intertwines his lively rhythm perfectly with Dunlea, who is making the transition from jazz to trad.

Interspersed with new and alternative recordings of older tunes, the compilation boasts eight new, quick cadenced melodies, skillfully combining the pitch of the whistle with the rhythmic strum of the guitar in agreeable harmony.

Seeing them live in the Cultúrlann, West Belfast, was a treat. The venue's natural relaxed aura and its dark, candlelit appearance was perfectly conducive to their musical style. Both musicians exude energy and intensity and convey their love of music to their audience. They have a story behind each tune, which they synopsise live and is elaborated on in the inlay card of the CD.

Interestingly, the duo were conservative in their use of technology for the purpose of the recording. Their simplicity is a triumph.

For those of us who like our rebel music in the refined form, and shy away from the more vulgar, jingoistic drivel, `Whistle & Guitar' strikes a nice balance. `The Foggy Dew', `The Wicklow Way' and `Down by the Glenside' are re-interpreted magically. `Down by the Glenside', re-mastered with an injection of pace, is particularly enjoyable. Airs of rebellion are a solid part of their music.

Despite the `odd couple' image that Breatnach and Dunlea might logically pose, their collaboration is a tribute to a talented and yielding pair. Well worthwhile.

For further info, contact [email protected]

BY MICHAEL PIERSE

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1
Ireland