Fresh from their storming of the Illawarra Folk Fest and sold-out shows in the Blue Mountains and beyond, the two-parts Dublin, one-part Limerick and one-part France/ Ennis Irish quartet FourWinds are on the crest of a wave.
If you dig traditional, folk music, check out the Bothy Band on YouTube and their shows from the '70s from the Embankment in London. Tonight’s gig (22 January) was like being at one of those shows.
Indeed, Paddy Keenan’s (Bothy Band’s legendary piper) words say it best: “FourWinds deliver their tunes and songs with sublime musicianship and conviction, you can only love this band’s music.”
A full house at the Django, with a great sounding PA btw, enjoyed hearing the tunes, songs and stories of this amazing four-piece. Bouzouki, uilleann pipes, concertina and bodhran with four voices lead by Daoirí Farrell. You could build your house on Daoirí’s voice and put a nice extension on to it out the back.
And the song choices are not what we expected including the hits ‘You Rollicking Frolicking Boys Of Tandragee’; a townland in Co. Armagh, no doubt where Starks rove out, meaning "arse to the wind". And then there was ‘Clasped To A Pig’. Who doesn't love a pig? Gotta be a choon for David Cameron’s Spotify playlist for sure.
But then it happens. The piper’s solo, slow air. “A bit of reverb there,” says the whisper to the sound engineer. And by jaysis when Tom Delaney cranked up that tune, wasn’t there a reckoning. Didn’t Scorcese’s Priest Vallon (aka Liam Neeson) himself come blashting through the door with Bill the butcher under one arm and Leo DiCaprio under the other.
Next it was Brendan Gleeson (as the Guard) with Sinead O’Connor under one arm and Margo Robbie under the other. A mournful, yet soaring cry of the pipes calling from glen to glen and all the way to Marrickville. It was like a party in the hold of the Titanic, but this ship ain't sinkin' anytime soon.
Incidentally, Daoirí Farrell will be back in April with his trio at the National Folk Fest in Canberra and he’s bringing Blacky O’Connell, uilleann pipes warlock of the Fianna.
Into the second half of the show, Robbie Walsh’s bodhran takes proceedings up to ramming speed and the revellers are out on the dancefloor. The combination of these four instruments is a beautiful mix, with bouzouki and bodhran trading the love below and Caroline Keane’s songbird concertina and Delaney’s pipes filling the sails with music. And go on so, with FourWinds!
Also, we gotta mention Robbie’s beard. It’s a great beard, man. Standing ovation and an encore later and we’re all out the gap, sweating, elated and healed.
Randomly Tom and Caroline and a great French accordionist called Leo ended up at our usual Sunday night session in Kelly’s in Newtown. The oldest session in Sydney meets the new drop from the well. The hearth of the flame stoked brighter than aurora Australis.
As they sped away in their cab I shouted: “Here, I’ve to write a review about yer gig. Yeah, ye were feckin useless!” Much laughter and frivolity. But yeah, they’re not useless at all. Incredibly talented and a lovely bunch. But blame them for the lateness of my review!
Go see them if you can.