Bríd Harper, Tony O’Connell, Paul Meehan and Lisa Butler are well known and highly respected performers collectively known as UAINE. They recently released their successful debut album entitled “The Dimming of the Day”
Gimmick free, UAINE have a sweet tuneful voice rendering contemporary and traditional material both in English and Irish and deliver tunes with a passion for the tradition.
“New tunes, bright ideas, deep respect, music as fresh as the first flush of April grass, vivid green spring shoots of promise from UAINE” Seán Laffey Irish Music Magazine
› ...Releases January 2020 » Irish Music Magazine
Hi from Liz Carroll!
The Dimming of the Day is the debut album of Uaine, a new and exciting band boasting a lineup of some of Ireland’s most talented and revered musicians - Bríd Harper, Tony O’Connell, Lisa Butler, and Paul Meehan.
Bríd Harper, from Co. Donegal originally and living in Co. Tyrone, is one of my favorite fiddlers, both as a player and as a person. Her playing is spectacular - flowing and intense in equal measure. She can be light with her bow and then concentrate it to where she’s really digging into her fiddle, and either way it’s great stuff.
Her style includes a shimmer which I would describe as a combined vibrato of the fingers of the left hand along with the bow hand. It adds a fragility to her sound, and it and the finesse and pure passion in her playing makes her one of today’s great fiddlers.
Tony O’Connell then, from Glin, Co. Limerick originally and living in Co. Kerry, is a revelation on the concertina. He’s incredibly adept at ornamentation and harmony. His playing is peppered with beautiful chord choices, and his music is bold and tasteful.
The first time I heard Bríd and Tony play together was in concert at the O’Flaherty Retreat in Texas in 2018. The variations they added to tunes were at once subtle and compelling; the music was just flying! Surely they should make a CD, I thought. And voila, here they are with the fabulous guitarist, Paul Meehan, and singer, Lisa Butler.
Paul Meehan hails from Manchester originally and lives in Armagh, and I can’t think about his playing without using the word smooth. Paul uses spare chord changes and then pulsing, relentless rhythm to accompany in a most supportive way. He’s been in some of today’s well known bands (Lunasa, Karan Casey Band, and many more) and I imagine he’s played a big role in shaping Uaine’s sound.
Lisa Butler from Co. Carlow, the brilliant singer formerly of Caladh Nua, rounds out the quartet of musicians on The Dimming of the Day. More on her below!
The Dimming of the Day kicks off with a set of polkas, "The Camino / The Lackagh Cross Polka / Will You Mind." Tony and Paul set the pace with a Brendan Begley original, a new tune to me, and Bríd joins in on the second tune, an older polka which is played with lovely variations and flourishes. The third tune brings in guests Brian McGrath and Jimmy Higgins; this is also a new tune to me but from the moment Paul and Brian play that first chord in the second part, I’m all in - love it!
Track 2 opens with the classy, heartfelt John Morris Rankin strathspey, “The Last March." A nice riff by Jimmy on the bodhran leads us into the first of two reels, “Paddy Murphy’s Wife.” The low end of the bodhran coupled with the smooth steady playing of Paul carries us along to the second reel, a Reavy tune, “Eleanor Kane’s," which is augmented by the pads and then lovely rhythms by Brian.
At this point it becomes clear that we’re to be treated to myriad soundscapes along the way in this album. There are unaccompanied sections; Paul plays banjo on a few tracks; there is use of a low fiddle by Bríd and the mandolin by Paul. All make for a lovely listening experience.
The tunes take a break as the third track introduces the wonderful Lisa Butler singing the iconic Richard Thompson song, "The Dimming of the Day." I love Lisa’s singing as she’s one of those singers that draws the listener in. Her voice is altogether beautiful, and this arrangement, along with the tone of Paul’s guitar, is sublime. Tony’s note choices and gently supportive playing are also a highlight on this track. Lisa sings two other songs on the album, "The Jolly Soldier" and "An Londubh ’San Chéirseach,” and I’m struck each time by the fragile quality she can bring to her voice in support of the words, and the musicality in her phrasing.
Other highlights to look out for on The Dimming of the Day include Brid’s jig, "Tura Go Teamhair," on Track 5; the Tommy Peoples penned, “March to Kinsale”- an absolute wow; that perfect little tune, “Cheer Up Old Hag," that springs out of the Jolly Soldier on Track 7;
Brian’s piano accompanying Brid and Tony on the Tommy Peoples reel, "Kitty’s Corner," on Track 9 (and really his and Jimmy Higgins’ contributions throughout the album). Also fantastic is the fierce “The Iapetus” on Track 11 (welcome Sorcha Meehan to the club of composers who love low-register driving reels!). Should I mention that Uaine play a Liz Carroll tune on Track 11…? yes!
I’d say there was much delight in the band’s choice of slides to end the album, seeing as polkas started it off. The second slide, Moss Murphy’s, kills me- it’s so good. And the very last tune is a classic! It’s a wonderful way to end the CD.
One of the nicest reviews myself and John Doyle ever got included this sentence from the reviewer, Deanne Sole, in Pop Matters: “The beauty of this album lies in the way the instruments manage to keep a buttery, human impressionism even while they're playing swiftly and precisely.” I think this applies to The Dimming of the Day as well and to the band, Uaine - the tunes, the playing, and the singing make this a beautiful album.