The Boruma Trio is a unique and exciting musical ensemble. The trio showcase the musical material and stylistic connections, contrasts and nuances of the B/C and C#/D accordion playing traditions and the East Clare and North Tipperary musical traditions through creative, empathic musical arrangement.

Sleeve Notes

The Boruma Trio, is a musical collaboration which successfully unites two stylistically contrasting musical traditions. The title of the album “Gléas” refers to the effect that musical keys have on the interpretation and playing of Irish traditional music.

Eileen O’Brien from Newtown, Nenagh, in North Tipperary is one of Ireland’s foremost fiddle players. Eileen’s musical heritage can be traced back through generations of her family. Eileen was mentored and influenced by her late father Paddy who established the B/C accordion playing style in the 1950’s. Paddy was one of the most influential composers of his generation. His compositions have been embraced and accepted into the traditional repertoire. Through her original compositions and arrangements, Eileen continues the family tradition of creativity.

Andrew MacNamara from Tulla in East Clare is one of Ireland’s leading exponents of the C#/D accordion playing style. Andrew’s family background is immersed in the East Clare musical tradition. His sister Mary Mac Namara is one of Ireland’s most highly acclaimed concertina players. Andrew’s playing style has been strongly influenced by local musicians, Joe Bane (Flute / Tin Whistle), Fiddle players: PJ Hayes, Bill O’Malley and accordionist Mattie Ryan. Galway accordionist Joe Cooley has also influenced Andrew’s playing style.

Dr. Geraldine Cotter (Piano and Tin Whistle) from Ennis with family musical connections in West Clare. Geraldine’s mother Dympna was a highly respected pianist and music teacher. Geraldine’s brother Eamon Cotter is a flute player. Eamon is also a flute maker. Sonny Murray (Concertina), John Kelly(Concertina/Fiddle), Peadar O’Loughlin (Fiddle / Flute / Uilleann Pipes) and Dr. Charlie Lennon (Piano / Fiddle) have all had a profound musical influence on Geraldine’s playing style.

The Boruma Trio is a unique and exciting musical ensemble. The trio showcase the musical material and stylistic connections, contrasts and nuances of the B/C and C#/D accordion playing traditions and the East Clare and North Tipperary musical traditions through creative, empathic musical arrangement.

“The Boruma Trio” derives its name from Brian Boru High King of Ireland, who was born at the Fort of Kincora at Killaloe, also known as “Béal Boruma”. The bridge across the River Shannon at Killaloe is the passageway linking North Tipperary and East Clare. The musical traditions of both sides of the River Shannon which were once ruled by King Brian are celebrated and unified by “The Boruma Trio”.

Track Listing

01 The Mist Covered Mountain / John Conroy’s / Steve Quinn’s Fancy (Jigs)
02 Quinn Of Armagh / The Peacock’s Feather (Hornpipes)
03 The Laccaroe / Brendan McMahon’s (Reels)
04 Fair And Tender Ladies (Song)
05 The Geese In The Bog / The Old Grey Goose (Jigs)
06 An Beinsín Luachra (Air)
07 The Twins / Reel For Andrew (Hornpipe_Reel)
08 The Happy Man / Paddy Taylor’s Reel (Reel)
09 Bruach Na Carraige Bána (Air)
10 Joe Bane’s / The Green Gowned Lass
11 The Mountains Of Pomeroy (Song)
12 Down The Broom / The Gatehouse Maid (Reels)
13 Air For Denis (Air)
14 The Four Leafed Shamrock / Patrick’s Night (Reels)

Irish Echo Review of “The Boruma Trio”

Boruma brings out melodic nuances

Traditional music/ by Daniel Neely

The Boruma Trio, a group comprising County Tipperary fiddle player and singer Eileen O’Brien, County Clare button-accordion player Andrew MacNamara and Clare piano and tin-whistle player Geraldine Cotter, has released a marvellous new album called “Gléas”. It is a lovely, uncluttered collection of tunes and songs that will absolutely delight Irish music lovers.

The Boruma Trio takes its name from Brian Boru, who in his day was called “Brian Boruma Mac Cennétig”. Boru is said to have been born at the Fort of Kincora at Killaloe in Clare where a bridge stands that connects Clare to Tipperary. The Boruma Trio is an apt name for this group, as their music explores stylistic ground common between the East Clare and North Tipperary musical styles.

And what they have done is really quite stunning. The album’s tone is deeply resonant with the albums of Andy McGann/Joe Burke/Felix Dolan and obvious point considering the instrumentation. However, The Boruma Trio’s East Clar/ North Tipp style has a different drive from that of McGann/Burke and Dolan’s Sligo approach, and it leads to important musical differences. Most prominent is that the Boruma Trio’s de-emphasizes heavy ornamentation and relaxes the music’s pulse, which allows the melodic nuances of each tune to come to the fore in a characteristic and attractive way.

This approach is, of course, well suited to the particular styles of all involved. Back in 2012, I wrote positively about O’Brien’s cd “Aon le hAon”, and emphasized how well the depth of her music is reflected in the quality of her phrasing. (Her father and her grandfather Dinnyare important names in Irish music history.) You can hear what I mean here in “Air for Denis”(One of her own compositions), a track that showcases the lovely smoothness in her music. O’Brien is also featured on two songs both of which are well executed.

MacNamara is a great musical foil for O’Brien. He has a lovely push in his playing that seems to find the natural pulse in any given melody with great ease. Listen, for instance, how well he works the box on a track like “Down the Broom/The Gatehouse Maid” it’s a sparkling example of what I mean and a great example of his overall style.

Cotter’s piano playing seems to be the element that pulls everything together. Her approach is bouncy but often very sparse, which confers an incredible depth and strength to her music.

Further, she seems to avoid the urge many backers have of resting underneath the melody and instead plays through it, with walking melodic bass lines and well placed chords that act almost like a third melodic voice and make her an active part of the sounds weave.

It’s the congruence between these three players that makes this album special. Take opener, “The Mist Covered Mountain” as an outstanding of how this happens. The track starts with MacNamara’s box rumbling through the tune in low octave. It’s an intriguing sound that on it’s own sets a dark tone. However, on the tune’s second pass, the box drops out for the fiddle, which not only changes the track’s focus but also it’s pace and spirit. On the third pass, the fiddle and box play sweetly in unison, making way for the piano, which enters with the second tune and adds a sense of cohesion and subtlety that ultimately carries the track to it’s close. It’s a sure-handed arrangement between like-minded players that lacks pretension and is really quite beautiful in it’s effect. This well considered approach to arranging is found throughout the album and adds rich variety.

This album is a winner. ”Gléas” is an impressive bit of work that is a delight to listen to, and I recommend it to anyone who loves Irish music without reservation!

Gléas, by The Boruma Trio

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The Boruma Trio, is a musical collaboration which successfully unites two stylistically contrasting musical traditions. The title of the album “Gléas” refers to the effect that musical keys have on the interpretation and playing of traditional music.

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Gléas, by The Boruma Trio

The Boruma Trio, is a musical collaboration which successfully unites two stylistically contrasting musical traditions. The title of the album “Gléas” refers to the effect that musical keys have on the interpretation and playing of traditional music.

Eileen O’Brien from Newtown, Nenagh, in North Tipperary is one of Ireland’s foremost fiddle players. Eileen’s musical heritage can be traced back through generations of her family. Eileen was mentored and influenced by her late father Paddy who established the B/C accordion playing style in the 1950’s. Paddy was one of the most influential composers of his generation. His compositions have been embraced and accepted into the traditional repertoire. Through her original compositions and arrangements, Eileen continues the family tradition of creativity. This album displays Eileen’s talents as a musician and composer.

Andrew Macnamara from Tulla in East Clare is one of Ireland’s leading exponents of the C#/D accordion playing style. Andrew’s family background is immersed in the highly acclaimed concertina players. Andrew;s playing style has been strongly influenced by local musicians, Joe Bane (Flute/Tin Whistle), Fiddle players: PJ Hayes, Bill O’Malley and accordionist Mattie Ryan. Galway accordionist Joe Cooley has also influenced Andrew’s playing style.

Dr. Geraldine Cotter (Piano and Tin Whistle) from Ennis with family musical connections in West Clare, completes the unification of these diverse playing styles. Geraldine’s mother Dympna was a highly respected pianist and music teacher. Geraldine’s brother Eamon Cotter is a flute player. Eamon is also a flute maker. Sonny Murray (Concertina), John Kelly (Concertina/Fiddle), Peadar O’Loughlin (Fiddle/Flute/Uillean Pipes) and Dr. Charlie Lennon (Piano/Fiddle) have all had a profound musical influence on Geraldine’s playing style.

Recorded at “The Music Room”, Tulla, Co. Clare by kind permission of Mary MacNamara, Kevin Costello and family.
Recorded & Mixed by Brendan Hearty
Produced by The Boruma Trio
Mastered by Matt Purcell
Sleeve Design/Layout/Photography: Kevin Minogue

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