John McSherry and Donal O'Connor - Tripswitch

John McSherry and Donal O'Connor - Tripswitch

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(May 2006) 8 tracks: Rose In The Gap * Tripswitch * Sean Maguire's * Both Ghe * Spanish 5's * Anton * Commonalty Set * Allie's Arabesque.

Following the success of his At First Light CD with Michael McGoldrick, John McSherry joins with Donal O'Connor on Tripswitch.

John McSherry is hailed as one of the finest exponents of the art of Uilleann piping in the world today - "a true master" (Irish Music Magazine). Coming from a Belfast family steeped in traditional music, John focused his energies on the pipes from an early age. By the time he reached fifteen he had two All Ireland Championship titles under his belt and at the age of eighteen he was the youngest ever winner of the senior Oireachtas piping competition.

Combining with his musical siblings, John formed the band Tamalin, bringing their unique blend of Irish, Breton, rock and eastern music to enthusiastic audiences around the world. By the age of 25, he had gained a reputation as a world class studio session musician, recording with the likes of Clannad, Nancy Griffiths, Shaun Davey, Dónal Lunny and Dan ar Braz to name but a few.

Described as being "at the forefront of modern innovation" (Green Man Review), John has taken piping to new heights with his unique style. His sense for improvisation has even been compared to that of the great jazz legend John Coltrane. Always in constant demand, John has performed with almost every artist you could think of, from Sinead O'Connor and Riverdance to Ornette Coleman and Secret Garden. He was a founding member of top trad band Lúnasa, as well as a lead instrumentalist with Dónal Lunny's ground-breaking supergroup Coolfin, which included Sharon Shannon and Nollaig Casey.

John's last recording venture, teaming up with life long musical comrade Michael McGoldrick to release At First Light, received the award for Best Traditional Album of the Year 2001 (Irish American News).

Dónal O'Connor is the son of the celebrated fiddler Gerry O’Connor (Skylark, Kinvara) and renowned singer Eithne Ní Uallacháin (Lá Lugh), inheriting a great musical legacy of at least five generations of fiddle playing and countless generations of traditional singing. Highly regarded as a fiddle player, he was asked at the tender age of 21 to take part in the prestigious Music Network Tour of Ireland alongside Scottish guitarist Tony Mc Manus, Fermanagh purveyor of song Gabriel McArdle, and John McSherry. Dónal’s playing was described recently by the press as “immaculate”, “electrifying” and “borne out of naked talent and consummate professionalism” (The Irish Times).

He has toured Europe and the USA extensively from a young age as both a lead and backing instrumentalist with a number of bands including Lá Lugh. Currently living in Belfast in the North of Ireland, Dónal is part of an extremely vibrant music scene. Recent collaborations have included tours with Mike McGoldrick, live festival performance with Karen Casey, TV performances with the legendary Sligo Flute player Séamus Tansey and recording work with Brian Kennedy and Máire Brennan of Clannad.

Despite a hectic schedule of gigs Dónal found some time to produce Gerry O’Connor’s long awaited solo album Journeyman which was released in the Autumn of 2004 to great critical acclaim. Dónal has also presented a number of music programmes on BBC Radio Ulster and was the face of BBC Northern Ireland’s excellent 10 part music series An Stuif Ceart.

"The eight tracks glow with grace, pace, melodic invention and their assured interplay" (Colin Somerville, Scotland on Sunday)

"With Tripswitch both artists seem to have come to fruition with a mature, poised, at times very tender and reflective offering. The sound is stripped back, pared down to essences that reveal a confidence and self-belief that allow the tunes and listener to breathe again. Both McSherry and O’Connor are well known virtuosos from the North of Ireland and feel no need to indulge in any excesses of showmanship. Tripswitch is a broader trip than that - a new departure for both * a softer, surer expression that unravels and unveils itself as we move through the album... Tripswitch offers a sense of dimension and space that has been absent from a lot of trad experimentation and production. The colorations are often soft, nuanced, perfectly shaded at times with low whistle and huskily bowed fiddle. There are still controlled surges of energy rush from both musicians as tunes twist, weave, skip and skirl through a range of moods, grooves and cross-culture-calls, but the overall effect of Tripswitch is that of purred incantation, a mellow, iridescent spell that signals a new phase in the creativity of both players. The album is a breath of fresh air and a creative chill out zone that will take familiar audiences by surprise and deservedly create new audiences for John and Donal." (Gearóid MacLochlainn)

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