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Martin Tourish | Under a Red Sky Night

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World: Celtic Folk: Irish Traditional Moods: Instrumental
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Under a Red Sky Night

by Martin Tourish

The long awaited album of new compositions in the Celtic/ Irish traditional style featuring virtuosic, colorful arrangements that mirror the Donegal hills for their peaks and glens. Complimented by a stellar cast of some of Ireland's best known artists.
Genre: World: Celtic
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Prelude
4:47 $0.99
2. Imagined Communities
5:14 $0.99
3. Moment Music
3:35 $0.99
4. The Tg4 Set
6:23 $0.99
5. Variation On a Theme from the James Tourish Collection
2:20 $0.99
6. The James Tourish Polkas
6:55 $0.99
7. Liobhan Song
3:31 $0.99
8. Agnis Tompson's Final Dance
5:59 $0.99
9. The West Gates
3:57 $0.99
10. The Seventh Degree
5:49 $0.99
11. The Missed Step
4:14 $0.99
12. Horseman, Pass By
2:40 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Martin Tourish is an accordionist, composer and producer from Co. Donegal, Ireland. Named 'Young Musician of the Year' in 2008 by TG4, his compositions are played by Altan, The Chieftains, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis amongst others.

Much of the music on this album began either as improvisations that were later shaped into compositions, or as a re-imagining of material from the traditional idiom. For me, each of the tunes and sets are snapshots of the spirit of a particular time and place and the people and ideas that floated within it. The tracks on this album were produced to give as much of a sense of this as was possible and I hope that you enjoy exploring each of these microcosms as much as I did.

The music is:

1. Prelude
(Prelude, Variation on El Garrotín, Pasucais de Pel.Luno, New Year's Eve)
The high accordion clusters and prelude that begin this set were written as an introduction to two tunes that were learned from the great Asturian band Llan de Cubel. The first one is a variation based on El Garrotín from their album IV, while the second tune, from Un Tempo Meyor, is a traditional melody to which Marcos Llope composed the third part. I vividly remember writing the final tune in the set before a New Year's Eve gig in Donegal many years ago; the year however, escapes me!

2. Imagined Communities.
(Imagined Communities, Anthem)
The title of this set serves as a tip of the hat to Benedict Anderson's classic work on the origin and processes nationalism. Both of the tunes that comprise this selection began as improvisations that were caught on tape, forgotten about, and then promptly relearned when they were by chance rediscovered!

3. Moment Music
This is yet another piece that started out as a live improvisation, this time over a guitar riff composed by Antoin Bracken. After a number of plays between performances in Dublin and Northern France, it began to take shape and took its place on the album!

4. The TG4 Set
(Fuar Uisce, Tuar, The TG4 Tune)
The first tune is a two-part variation on the four-part highland 'Bog an Lochain'. I associate this tune with the band Altan and it was after a gig of their in France that a version of it became embedded in my head and stayed with me to eventually morph into that which is played here. Tuar, which loosely translates as 'prophesy' was conceived in a similar manner, with the first part of this reel being closely modeled on Ríl Cois Claddaigh as composed by Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh. The final tune was commissioned by the Irish language television channel TG4 who featured it in their award-winning add 'The More You Look, The More You See'. In keeping with their theme, it has gained a bridge section since its original recording!

5. Variation on a Theme from the James Tourish Collection
The James Tourish Collection is an archive of manuscripts dating from 1896, which surfaced in 2008 in an area of Co. Donegal known as The White Cross. It was kindly given to me by Bernard Tourish, in whose memory I play it here. Containing an eclectic mixture of tunes, this piece was original set as a fast polka written in a major mode. However, it seemed to gain an ethereal quality when played slowly in a minor mode and it is in this manifestation that I play it here. As with much of the other music in the collection, it does not bear a title.

6. The James Tourish Polkas
(Trip to Dingle, Untitled 1, Untitled 2, Twenty-four Permutations)
The first tune in this set was composed as a polka by the renowned piano accordionist Alan Kelly but I could never resist playing this beautiful melody as a slower piece. The two untitled polkas that follow come directly from The james Tourish Collection where they can be found respectively in two different Quadrille Sets, a popular dance-type of the nineteenth century. Twenty-four permutations was accidentally captured as a spontaneous improvisation and is based on the first phrase of the first James Tourish Polka.

7. Liobhan Song
Liobhan Song was written shortly after the release of Clan Ranald (2005) my debut album with Luke Ward. in the tune's composition, i looked to the eclectic James Tourish Collection for inspiration and based its unusual compound to simple meter feel on some of the more radical music found between its pages, where changes between 6/8 and 4/4 within the same tune are not unusual! The idea behind this tune is a celebration of the tapestry of styles found within the genre, which lays in contrast with the promotion of one single aesthetic.

8. Agnis Tompson's Final Dance
(Agnis Tompson's Final Dance, Exegesis)
The earliest mention of the reel appears to have been in the 1591 pamphlet entitled 'Newes of Scotland' but perhaps of more interest is the story to which it belongs. This sixteenth-century document document details how Agnis Tompson confessed that on All Hallow's Eve she 'daunced the reil or short daunce with two hundred other witches'. She was then strangled and burned in what was a part of the now famous North Berwick witch trials. While their persecution was presided over by King James, who later produced the now famous version of the Bible, in reality, many of the innocent women would have been healers in their local communities. This tune was written in their memory. To complete the set, attached is another tune I composed called Exegesis, which began as a deconstruction of the well-known Cooley's Reel, before taking on a life of its own.

9. The West Gates
(The West Gates, The Teelin Sound, One and Five)
This set of tunes was conceived as a whole in an improvisation that by chance, happened to be recorded. I had forgotten about them for years until they resurfaced one night and decided to stay in my memory this time! The chromaticism in the middle tune was based on the style of two of my musical heroes, Con and Frank Cassidy, and so their place of residence is referenced in the title. Its A-part is also reminiscent of Maurice Lennon's composition 'The Road to Garrison'. Following another bridge section based on material from the first tune, the set is completed by One and Five, which relates to the tune's harmonic structure, and a lively way to end!

10. The Seventh Degree
(Lullaby, The Seventh Degree)
The first part of Lullaby was composed in Spain while the second part followed at a late night session back in Dublin some months later. Similarly, The Seventh Degree begun in l'Orient, Brittany and again was finished in Dublin. It is modeled on some of the styles of composition found in the nineteenth-century James Tourish Collection.

11. The Missing Step
(The Missed Step, The Three Cats Jig)
These two tunes were composed in the order used here following a final exam in the summer of 2006. The first tune ends half a bar early each time, hence its title. The name of the tune that follows is a reference to my being plagued with cats during the recording of this album! Easily it could otherwise have been called 'the antihistamine special'!

12. Horseman, pass by.
This simple one-part air was composed in Dublin in the Sumer of 2011. Its minimalist style is influenced by one of my favourite composers, Zbignew Priesner, and the title is a nod at W.B. Yeat's poem 'Under Ben Bulben'.

For more information, see: www.martintourishmusic.com

Enjoy the album!



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