'a sparkling collection of tunes...infused with a rhythmic sensibility and a tonal depth that's refreshingly unexpected' Irish Times
I first came across the music of Bob Brozman about ten years ago and subsequently heard a live broadcast and interview on Andy Kershaw's radio programme. I found Bob's music, style and intelligence very engaging and, although steeped in various traditions, the music was forward-looking.
Eventually I got the opportunity to work with Bob and under the auspices of Moving On Music. He has since visited Northern Ireland three times and toured as a solo artist. It was during a very successful 2005 tour that he mentioned in passing that it might be an interesting collaboration and challenge for him to work with Irish traditional musicians this stuck in my mind.
I first briefly met the then-teenage Dónal O'Connor at an Irish festival in Valence in the south of France in 1998 and shortly afterwards bumped into him in a shop in Belfast, having no idea that he was studying in the city. It then became apparent to me that he was a new, young and important talent in the traditional music scene. In 2007, Moving On Music set up a tour for the band At First Light, of which he was a member along with (among others) the uilleann piper John McSherry.
In 2006, Moving On Music had the opportunity to apply to the Arts Council of Northern Ireland Lottery Fund for the support of various new initiatives and was in discussion internally as to what we would like to do if new funds became available. The subject of commissioning new work came up and suddenly it brought to mind what Bob Brozman had mentioned the previous year, so we duly set about thinking about who he might collaborate with. The choice seemed obvious - we were already working with the very people who were great, open-minded Irish musicians - so in late 2006 we asked Bob to give up a day off from a long UK tour to fly to Belfast to discuss the possibilities with Dónal and John. The discussions went well, and we all decided to go forward.
We were awarded a lottery grant in June 2007 and the composition/recording project took place in Downpatrick in early February 2008, when (two-trolley) Bob landed at George Best International Airport in Belfast.
I'd like to thank the musicians for the opportunity to help to make this all happen and for their patience, faith and - above all - their creative music-making.
Of course, along the way it was always a consideration that nothing might come of this collaboration, that traditions and sensibilities might be compromised and diluted, I don't think so. What I do know is: what have we here is fresh, beautiful and passionate music I hope you think so too.
Brian Carson, www.movingonmusic.co.uk
After a lifetime of collaborating with musicians from tropical islands, I thought a cold-climate island project would be interesting and challenging. My work on this project involved creating interesting backgrounds and landscapes to support and reinform the melodies, with unusual timbres and rhythms. After just a day or two working together, we also composed new music for this album, like 'Beer Belly Dancing', where we have Irish phrasing played in an Arabic mode, or 'Brelydian', where the Lydian mode, typical of Malian music, is brought into play. This project gave me a chance to explore some areas of playing technique and aesthetic intention that I have not utilized before on any recording. The results yielded some sounds and moods I have never achieved till now.
Working with these fine musicians was a pleasure, and we felt great about what was accomplished in only six days, in a world where months and years are often spent making albums. Special thanks to Brian Carson for envisioning and facilitating this project.
Visit Bob Brozman's website:www.bobbrozman.com
Visit At First Light's website:www.atfirstlight.net
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