Humanity has revered creativity throughout time, from the ancient Greeks to modern-day painters, poets, writers and musicians.
It’s one of those ineffable wonders that is extremely hard to define but you absolutely know it when you see it. Or hear it in this case.
Eddie Kelly was born in 1933 near Eyrecourt, Co. Galway and is a preeminent fiddle-player and button accordionist of the East Galway Irish Music Tradition (EGIMT) style. He is also a gifted composer and all twenty-one of his compositions are now available in a new album called Searbh Siúcra (Bitter-Sweet).
The imagination, inspiration and creativity of these tunes is unequaled and they range from slow airs, to jigs and reels and something in between.
The album was recorded and produced by Éilís Crean who was born in Ballintubber, Co. Roscommon and now lives in Franklin, Tennessee, USA. Crean grew up learning from Kelly and she has formed a company called The Irish Gift that promotes and preserves the East Galway Irish Music Tradition (EGIMT) and the music of Eddie Kelly.
Searbh Siúcra is an Irish-Gaelic term that is sometimes used to define polarity and the idea that opposites attract. It describes how seemingly opposite or contrary forces may actually be complementary, interconnected, and interdependent in the natural world, and how they may give rise to each other as they interrelate to one another.
Another interpretation of Searbh Siúcra is Bitter-Sweet.
“Both of these concepts perfectly describe the evolution of this album because even though the music and most of the musicians come from Ireland, two outstanding musicians from Nashville namely John Mock and Jeff Taylor brought their love of Ireland and Irish music to this album. They brought respect for an old Irish music tradition and Eddie Kelly in the form of sensitivity and delicacy and they added a touch of the new to the music, in a way that magnified its authenticity and potency.” continues Crean.
“And to capture the old sound of the East Galway Irish music tradition itself, I am joined by luminaries such as John Doyle, Mike McGoldrick, Kevin Burke and John Regan. Each of these musicians brought tenderness and understanding to what I believe was Eddie’s vision for the tunes. They worked graciously and patiently to interpret and master the tunes and add a little bit of their own mageticism. I am deeply grateful to all the musicians who helped me with this album” explains Crean
“And it was a bitter-sweet journey for many reasons, the main one being that Eddie, my childhood teacher began to suffer a decline in his health after he wrote these tunes, so to my knowledge he never got to play them.”
The album was launched to a very large and enthusiastic audience in late July 2017 and Crean continues to perform with John Mock, sharing the music of Eddie Kelly with the world.
Crean herself grew up in a house where traditional Irish music was cultivated, cherished and appreciated. Her childhood years saw many hours with Eddie, teasing through the artful arrangement of his notes during the weekly lessons and she is now, one of only six fiddle-players world-wide that plays the East Galway Irish Music Tradition.
Through the years, Éilís has competed and won prizes and accolades at various competitions and events throughout Ireland, Great Britain and the USA. In 2014 she released her debut album called The Lonesome Fiddler which was the first album of it’s kind to showcase the East Galway Irish Music Tradition (EGIMT) as interpreted by Eddie Kelly. John Doyle, Kevin Crawford, Dermot Byrne and Kenny Malone were guest artists on the album which was received with critical acclaim throughout Ireland and the USA and further afield.
And this new album Searbh Siúcra is set to provide an inestimable contribution to the world of traditional Irish music, specifically the East Galway Irish Music Tradition.
When Éilís is not performing and teaching the East Galway Irish Music Tradition and the music of Eddie Kelly she can be found in various hospitals and healthcare organizations throughout the USA offering consultation on the setup and implementation of Electronic Health Records (EHRs)
Searbh Siúcra is available on iTunes, GooglePlay and CDBaby.
For bookings please contact Éilís Crean via email Eilis@theirishgift.com