Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Forty Years of Irish Piping
Genres: Folk, World Music, Pop
Not only was Seamus Ennis one of the great masters of the uilleann pipes, he was also a highly regarded singer, storyteller, and folklorist. As you might expect from the title, the bulk of Forty Years of Irish Piping is de... more »
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Not only was Seamus Ennis one of the great masters of the uilleann pipes, he was also a highly regarded singer, storyteller, and folklorist. As you might expect from the title, the bulk of Forty Years of Irish Piping is devoted to his skillful playing, but it also includes some of Ennis's versions of old songs and stories, including "Don Niperi Septo," which was said to be a favorite of the blind harper Turlough O'Carolan. Ennis used a set of pipes made in Dublin in the early 1800s that sound at a lower pitch than is common in modern sets. The old flat set, as it is called in piper's circles, has a sweeter, mellower tone than a set of new pipes, and when played by a musician of Ennis's ability, they are capable of a sound that is both mournful and thrilling. Unlike many contemporary players who mix the uilleann pipes with other instruments, Ennis always played the old dance tunes and slow airs the old way, alone and without accompaniment. The sound quality on some of the earlier tracks is not up to current standards and the pipes occasionally let loose with an unexpected squawk, but the magic of the music more than makes up for the shortcomings. --Michael Simmons
Definitive, if not exemplary sample of Ennis' piping
Simon Burris | Waco, TX, USA | 07/09/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"At last this title is released on CD format, after many years being available only on tape from Green Linnet. The packaging itself is charming: there is even a photograph inside of Ennis at four years of age, holding what seems to be a home-made set of toy pipes.The tracks themselves cover a wide range in repetoire, time and sound quality. The first few tracks are particularly "old fashioned" in their sound quality. But this low fidelity is more than made up for by the level of Ennis' playing as a younger man. Put simply, his reels can be blisteringly alive when he really goes at it in these earlier tracks.There are, of course, many of the usual sqeaks and squawks (and the occasional false start) one associates with Ennis recordings. For an enthusiast, these are endearing; for a first-time listener they may be off-putting. I think it is safe to say this CD will most please those who already have a strong interest in the uilleann pipes and in Ennis specifically. (I suggest "The Wandering Minstrel" as an excellent Ennis CD for the beginner.)Like "Bonny Bunch of Roses", "Forty Years" has a couple of spoken tracks, which are obviously tongue in cheek and are sure to raise a smile. Also like "Bonny Bunch", there are a couple of whistle tracks as impressive as anything else on the CD.A final word for all the Spilane fans out there. This is a hard-core uilleann piping CD: there are no rainsticks, tablas, marimbas, synthesizers or didgeridoos. There is, in fact, no accompaniment other than the creaking of Ennis' bellows as he pumps air into a set which is legendary for its leakiness. This is a CD for listening and studying; transcendental meditators ought look elsewhere."
Carlos Urtasun Estanga | Pamplona, Navarra Spain | 10/11/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Great album.In my opinion, better than published by Tara 'The Best of Irish Piping'.All the flavor and knowledge of Seamus Ennis in an essential disc for which they love the uilleann pipe.Very interesting the photos that contain.The root and inspiration of pipers as the great Liam O'Flynn or Dicky Deegan is here."
Kevin L. Rietmann | Oregon | 02/02/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The best of this album positively jumps out of the speakers out of you; when Seamus got a full head of steam going his piping had a magic about it, almost. Some of the material here is derived from LPs such as Gael-Linn's Seoda Ceoil 2, or Folkways's World Library Of Folk & Primitive Music, Vol. 2, which has now been reissued, with some additional items by Seamus on it that weren't included here. None of these sources are credited properly, and producer Pat Sky leaves out tune titles, puts others in the wrong order, and cites Seamus's early take of the reel the Bucks of Oranmore as displaying an immature style, somehow, as compared to the later take. Actually it was recorded three years later. The earlier take was sped up enormously for some reason, putting Seamus's C# pipes in the pitch of E. Sloppy! But these are mere quibbles, like one of Seamus's chanter squeals, that get overwhelmed by the wonderful music itself."