Masters of Tradition: An Enchanted Evening

Masters of Tradition
Martin Hayes, Dennis Cahill, Cathal Hayden, Iarla Ó Lionáird, Seamie O’Dowd, Máirtín O’Connor, David Power

Friday, March 28, 8pm,
Somerville Theatre
Davis Square
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(Somerville) The gentlemen comprising the Masters of Tradition remind me greatly of Irish Art Garfunkels. Nerdy casual in their comfortable jeans and khakis, they would be unassuming on the street but powerful on paper. Give them music and the wonders of their talents become immediately apparent. Fiddle, guitar, accordion, Uilleann pipes and voice they provide an enchanting evening of performance.

Lead by fiddler, Martin Hayes, the Masters performed traditional Irish repertory that will shortly be celebrating its tricentennial and well as more modern fare. There were solos, trios and duets featuring different combinations of instruments and voice. The evening ended with several group numbers that incorporated all 7 of the musicians. Pieces of the music were often introduced with historical fact tidbits.

The mostly instrumental music, 3 hour concert felt like church. Or, it felt the way church is supposed to feel. Reverence and joy echoed through Somerville Theatre as the audience and the Masters found a common intimacy in the music. Legs beat time, heads bobbed up and down and the fingers pattered on chair arms. For an audience of adult New Englanders, we were getting down pretty hardcore. Had the concert continued for much longer, I dare say someone might have gotten up to dance!

It was fascinating to watch the Masters communicate with each other and the audience through their instruments. It seemed that they were so finely tuned to each other and the music that, should they so choose, they could have manipulated the audience into a reaction of their choosing. We were putty in their hands.

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