Searbh Siúcra (CD)
Searbh Siúcra (CD)

Searbh Siúcra (CD)

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Searbh Siúcra makes available for the first time, all 21 of Eddie Kelly's music compositions. Eddie Kelly is from Ireland and is a preeminent composer, fiddle-player and button accordionist of the East Galway Irish Music Tradition (EGIMT) style.

Searbh Siúcra is an Irish-Gaelic term that is sometimes used to define polarity, the idea that opposites attract: Is deas le searbh siúcra. It describes how seemingly opposite or contrary forces may actually be complementary, interconnected, and interdependent in the natural world, and how they may give rise to each other as they interrelate to one another.

Another interpretation of the term Searbh Siúcra is Bitter-Sweet.

All of these concepts perfectly describe the evolution of this album. The musical contributions span the waters, from Ireland to Nashville. The quintessential sounds of the Paolo Soprano button-accordion, fiddle and flute keep alive the old East Galway Irish Music Tradition (EGIMT) sound and mood. And they are juxtaposed with the harmonium, djembe and kunga drum that bring a new type of old feel and timbre to the EGIMT.

And Eddie’s compositions themselves are a panorama of that old traditional sound whilst also introducing a very new one. Eddie Kelly’s Jigs 1 and 2 carry that dark and lonesome sound that distinguishes the EGIMT from all other traditional Irish music styles (often referred to as Draíocht). And ‘The Hand of the Little People’ is something very different, with it’s unique phrasing and the unconventional asymmetry between the first and second parts.

The Yin and Yang theme continues throughout the album as the dark sounding sets that were recorded with the fiddle tuned down to C offer a contrast to the brighter sounding sets where the instruments are tuned to E flat. The album also includes some of Eddie’s old favourites which offer another theme of contrast against his own works. And last but certainly not least, the searbh siúcra nature and expression of masculine and feminine creative energy throughout this album.

And the journey to bring this album to fruition has been bitter-sweet. Tears of heart-ache and tears of joy, those opposing and interconnected forces that eventually allow us to live more deeply and have a more rooted sense of meaning, purpose and beauty in our lives.

Éilís Crean

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