Emer Mayock "Playground"
Label: Own label - Is Mise 001 10 tracks, 46 minutes
This young Dublin flute and whistle diva has taken her time producing a second album, and Playground is very different from her 1996 debut Merry Bits Of Timber. Emer's touch is more assured after another five years of hard playing, and her excellent compositions make up the bulk of this CD. She's particularly strong on jigs: Kalyana is a beauty that seems instantly familiar, and August First measures up well to Donogh Hennessy's reel of the same name.
Emer's flute, whistles, pipes, fiddle and cello are supported by the strums and keyboards of Donal Siggins, who has a hand in most aspects of this album and also contributes a couple of fine compositions. This core partnership is supplemented by subtle percussion from Robert Harris and occasional bites from Mick Kinsella's tin sandwich, plus guests on two tracks.
Although this is definitely Irish music, there's an eclectic side to Playground. A gorgeous Breton set and a pair of Grey Larsen hornpipes break up the Mayock tunes. Rhythms come in fives and thirteens, as well as the usual fours and threes. There's more than a hint of Balkan music, but that's no surprise since Riverdance. Lucky Thirteen is a terrific tune, and the rhythm seems completely natural. Other highlights include a languid treatment of The Boys Of Ballisodare (one of only two traditional tunes here), a pair of up-tempo waltzes including the eerie Orlagh's Waltz, and the final slow air Home Time. Check out www.emermayock.com for more details.