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CHRIS DRONEY "The Fertile Rock" Clo Iar-Connachta CICD 110

Here's a recording to delight the ear: the pure, clear notes of a concertina in the hands of a master, with laid-back piano accompaniment and a lovely, airy feel. Chris Droney, of Co. Clare, has been around a long time, and clung tenaciously to the old way of playing. That means a lyrical, uncluttered style, with hardly a trace of the machine-gun ornamentation that finds favour amongst many contemporary players. I don't want to take sides in what seems to be a burgeoning dispute over homogenization of styles and an increase in flashiness, but I must say it's a pleasure to hear Chris Droney bring out the tune first and foremost, always unhurried but with plenty of rhythm.

The concertina technique (we're talking Anglo here, of course) is a beguiling mixture of single-note melody and tight octave playing across the bellows, with occasional shifts into the higher register. Piano accompaniment by George Byrt rolls along a perfect tempo, though the purist might quarrel with one or two chord selections. The repertoire is not too well trodden, includes several tunes from Chris' father Jim, and ranges through the expected jigs, reels and polkas to two lovely waltzes. All in all a most enjoyable recording that I thoroughly recommend to anyone who likes to hear music played in real traditional style.

Brian Peters

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This album was reviewed in Issue 15 of The Living Tradition magazine.