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Anna Falkenau

Féileacán na Saoirse (The Butterfly of Freedom) is a new CD (nominated for Album of The Year 2014) by fiddle player Anna Falkenau, featuring airs and tunes from the Irish and American old-time music traditions, as well as original compositions “by herself and other fine tune makers of today….soulful, inventive and infectious” is the verdict of Jackie Small of The Irish Traditional Music Archive, Dublin.

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"The riches afforded by this textured tune selection (along with a skein of thoughtfully composed sleeve notes) is a reminder of the benefits of the hard copy over the virtual. Anna Falkenau is a fiddler with a highly developed ear for music from Sliabh Luachra and American old-time music.

She often favours a deliciously stripped-down style, letting the fiddle’s most primal qualities shine through. This spartan style is a perfect fit for her tune choices, including her own beautiful Ivan’s Waltz. There’s a vitality to Falkenau’s ability to marry tunes, and her pairing of Caoineadh Uí Néill with Liz Carroll’s sublime That’s Right, Too!lingers long after the final notes have faded. Falkenau’s singular voice is ever audible, but never at the expense of the tunes. ...(Siobhán Long, The Irish Times, ****)

Not a common Irish name, Falkenau: this young fiddler is originally from Germany, but has taken to Irish traditional music like a duck to – well – anywhere on Erin’s green isle! After a stint in Cork, and another in Connecticut, she’s well able to produce an album mixing Irish and American old–time music with some of her own compositions. Anna Faulkner’s sweet spot seems to be the junction of Irish and American music – she tops and tails this CD with a couple of Liz Carroll reels, and makes a lovely job of them. There’s a number of accompanists on Féileacán na Saoirse, and some fine unaccompanied fiddling too. Anna’s playing is folksy, earthy, not the usual German precision, and lends itself to slower tunes and to the raw Sliabh Luachra style: her version of The Wounded Hussar is spine–tingling over a fiddle drone which acknowledges its piping legacy.

"The jump to The Coolea Jig shows a sprightly side of Anna’s music, a lighter mood which leavens the heavy dark modal tunes here – but to be honest I prefer that darker side. The growling harmonies on Sally Coming Through the Rye with a high bass tuning, the sawing slow suicide of Anna’s own Vodka & Chocolate or the abject despair of O’Rahilly’s Grave which I’d even say has a touch of the Martin Hayes genius about it in Anna’s hands. Ivan’s Waltz is sweet, with Holly Geraghty keeping the harp well grounded. A bit of banjo and accordion is always welcome on Richmond and Ard Bothar, and of course it’s great to hear a Scottish gem like G S McLennan’s Little Cascade. This fiddler’s real meat is dark and heavy, Caoineadh Ui Néill and even her own title track Féileacán na Saoirse. Give this album a listen". (Alex Monaghan, Irish Music Magazine)

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