AN EXCITING mix of trad and classical sounds comes to Kilkee on Saturday, October 29, as the West Ocean String Quartet come to West Clare.
Among the programme on the night will be pieces from their latest, and fifth album, Atlantic Edge.
Blending traditional and classical elements, the album was recorded in Dublin over three days in November 2019, and marked the Quartet’s two decades together. The album release was to have been accompanied by a tour of venues along the Atlantic coast in Spring of 2020, but as with so many other cultural events fell victim to Covid.
The Quartet’s founder, Belfast musician, composer and television producer, Neil Martin, said that the Quartet is thrilled to be fulfilling the original tour schedule, including Cultúrlann Sweeney on Saturday. The repertoire for their Clare concert is music from or about the west of Ireland, both traditional and newly-composed.
The Quartet celebrates the deeply rich vein of airs and dance tunes that emanate from Ireland’s west coast. The West Ocean String Quartet, took its first tentative steps in 1999 and has since received world-wide acclaim.
Its founding members, Séamus McGuire (violin) and Neil Martin (cello) were later joined by Niamh Crowley (violin) and Ken Rice (viola). Along the way, the quartet has shared stages and studios with some of the very finest musicians, singers and performers, including Christy Moore, Liam O’Flynn, Stephen Rea, Maighread Ní Dhomhnaill and Matt Molloy.
On the researching material for the album, Neil Martin said landscape had been inspirational.
“The seemingly endless store of beautiful airs and robust dance music from along the Atlantic edge underlines how landscape shapes humans, and vice versa,” he said. “The two become inextricable, interdependent, and when artists seek to express themselves, it’s inevitable that something of that sense of place appears. Songs and tunes of love and exile and home and longing and heartbreak.”
The performance begins at 8pm on Saturday night and full details are available on Clarearts.ie.