Traditional fiddlers Liz and Yvonne Kane are sisters from Letterfrack, a small village on the wild and scenic coast of Connemara, in County Galway. They released their third album Side by Side in July 2010, and kindly sent me a review copy all the way from Ireland. This record deserves attention as a brilliant example of top-shelf Irish traditional fiddling from two internationally recognized masters of the art. Playing in unison as they would in a pub session, they weave an enchanting spell that can only come from musicians joined by family and blood. Lovely backing for the tunes is provided by Daithi Sproule on guitar, Mick Conneely on bouzouki, Patsy Broderick on piano, and Ottawa Valley stepdancer Nathan Pilatzke.
For material, Liz and Yvonne like to explore modern compositions from fiddlers such as Paddy Fahey and Paddy O’Brien, writers of shifty tunes that don’t always stick within preconceived boundaries of minor or major scales. Their repertoire encompasses mostly reels and jigs with the occasional hornpipe or slow air. Recording in their home in the late hours of evening, they often play the tunes in unusual keys. In a recent interview in Irish Music Magazine, Liz said, “We changed a lot of normal keys to different keys. We prefer it; it sounds brighter and nicer.”
LISTEN: The Starry Lane to Monaghan / Star of Ireland / Sean sa Ceo
LISTEN: Paddy Fahey’s Jig / Manorhamilton The 8th of May / The Wednesday Visit