Belfast Telegraph

Eimear McGeown: Instrumentalism of highest order

By Terry Blain

Few classical instrumentalists can convincingly switch over to another style of playing. Flautist Eimear McGeown is one, as she showed in her lunchtime recital at the chapel in Clandeboye.

The entire programme was given over to Irish traditional music, an area in which McGeown is an experienced proponent. She started with The Mushroom Tree, a tune which came to her while waiting for a previous concert to begin at Clandeboye. McGeown immediately recorded it on her iPhone, and was accompanied in this newest version by guitarist Jonny Toman and the double bass of Dan Swana.

McGeown herself played a whistle, on which the liquid fluidity of her phrasing, natural as spring water trickling down a mountain, was evident throughout the recital. Her other instrument was an Irish flute, whose essential mellowness was ideally suited to the unaccompanied lament which followed.

Jonny Toman took centre-stage on five-string banjo for a jaunty bluegrass-influenced workout on Big Country, elsewhere contributing tasteful accompaniments on his six-string acoustic. A nicely varied programme, full of high-class instrumentalism.

Four stars

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