Bríd O’Donoghue launched ‘Air Time’ at the Willie Clancy week in Miltown Malbay, Co. Clare on Sunday 6th July.
After the graveside tribute to Willie Clancy at 3pm, there were a number of launches of noted traditional Irish recordings and publications in St. Joseph’s Convent School, Spanish Point. Fíodhna was joined by her family. Here are some photos of the event.
On Wednesday 15th January, 2014, Fiodhna’s new album ‘Air Time’ was featured on Lift the Latch, a traditional Irish Music programme presented by Michael O’Neill and Helen King on Connemara Community Radio.
Fiodhna gave an overview of the background of producing the CD, choosing airs for inclusion and selecting accompanying musicians to create the sound she imagined. She spoke about how her upbringing instilled a love of traditional music and how her time in the Middle East influenced her own playing.
Michael and Helen played two of her airs on the programme, Easter Snow with her father Bobby Gardiner and The Banks of Sullane with Cathy Jordan and Seamie O’Dowd.
Click on the audio player below to hear the airs and Fiodhna’s interview.
As part of ‘Nollaig na mBan’ celebrations on the 5th January, Fiodhna, along with traditional singer, Noirin Ni Riainn, who is based at Glenstal Abbey, performed for a large audience in the ‘Captain’s Room’ of the Hunt Museum, Limerick. Fiodhna began and ended the evening with a traditional air from her CD ‘Air Time’, while Noirin led the room into a number of round chants, along with vocal harmonies.
On Saturday 14th December, Fiodhna’s debut album, ‘Air Time’, was launched at The Village Arts’ Centre, Kilworth by Roy Galvin. Fiodhna was joined in concert by Eileen O’Brien on fiddle, Jack Talty on concertina and piano and her father Bobby Gardiner on accordion and melodeon. Fiodhna played 3 airs that feature on her album and was accompanied on keyboard by her husband, Padraig.
On Saturday 7th December, Fíodhna’s debut album, ‘Air Time‘, was launched in The Local, Dungarvan, by Co. Waterford traditional singer Ann Mulqueen. Fíodhna performed two airs from her album, ‘An Raibh tú ar an gCarraig’ and ‘Grá mo Chroí’ and was accompanied by her husband, Pádraig on keyboard. Other musicians that played included Donnchadh Gough, Brendan Clancy, Kelley Gardiner and Stephen Tutty.
“Fíodhna Gardiner-Hyland is the daughter of legendary accordion player Bobby Gardiner, and as they say – the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. This album is a beautiful collection of slow airs and songs played with great heart and feeling, featuring Fíodhna on the whistle with a backdrop of luscious arrangements provided by some of Irelands leading musicians, including Seamie O’Dowd, Martin O’Connor, Bobby Gardiner, Gary Ó Bhroinn, Liam Kelly and Cathy Jordan featured on three songs. I certainly enjoyed listening to this album and know you will too.”
(Joanie Madden, Cherish The Ladies)
When Fíodhna sent me a review copy of her new “Air Time” album in March 2013, I was delighted to be asked to write a review for her. Only a few short weeks earlier, I heard Fíodhna play a beautiful arrangement of “An Raibh tú ag an gCarraig” at a session run by Paul Smyth in Liam Ó Riains, Ballina/Killaloe, Co. Tipperary.
From the first notes of “An Raibh tú…” this album had me engrossed. Because all the airs are played on low whistles, they move seamlessly in and out of one another. You would imagine that a brave undertaking like this – to play only airs for 40 minutes plus – would lead to fatigue. But I can guarantee the listener that this is not the case, as each air has been arranged and accompanied with such care and attention to detail, that even on repeated listening, the music is given different interpretations as to hold the attention.
There are surprises too. Cathy Jordan’s singing on three of the tracks caught me by surprise. On “An Buachaillín Donn” she is introduced by the whistle but then, after she sings a verse the whistle takes the melody again to the harmonies of voice. Likewise, Martín Ó Connor’s use of the box on “Amhrán na Leabhar” is most interesting and enhancing to Fíodhna’s playing. Seamie O’Dowd’s laid back fingered guitar, strings and keyboard enhance the newly composed air “The Boy from Aughdarra” which flows into Fíodhna’s mother’s composition “An Ghorta” which evokes visions of recent famine in Africa as well as events in our own country in the 1840’s.
Cathy’s harmonies with guitar, accompany the whistle again on the opening of the well know song “The Banks of Sullane” and by the end of the song the whistle and voice are in perfect unison together.
“Hector the Hero” is an air I first heard the great Scottish fiddler Aly Bain play many years ago and it was written by another great fiddler Scott Skinner for his friend, Sir Hector Macdonald who committed suicide as a result of unsavoury rumours and illness. How apt that it should be included here when we hear about so much of such tragedies happening, particularly among the young, in the Ireland of today.
“The Dreams of old Pa Fogerty” is the other Scottish air on the album and again with Mairtín’s drone-like box playing and fills, finishes the music off nicely with Gary Ó Bhroinn’s piano.
One track I hadn’t mentioned earlier ‘’Easter Snow’’ is an air I first heard played by the legendary Séamus Ennis (piper and collector) and one that he also named his final home in Naul, Co. Dublin after. There are many different descriptions of where the air originates but perhaps my favourite is that Easter Snow is a reference to the blackthorn blossom which appears in the Springtime; blackthorn is the opposite to hawthorn in that it bears its blossom before its leaves open, and the blossom time is usually quite close to Eastertide. Fíodhna is joined here by her father, the well-known Button Accordion player Bobby Gardiner for a beautiful rendition of the tune. So, on this album which is firmly based in the tradition, we hear her mother’s and father’s influences. As the old sean-fhocal goes: briseann an dúchas trí shúile an chait (heritage breaks out through the eyes of the cat).
(Aodan O’Dubhghaill, Head of Lyric FM)
Agalamh idir Fíodhna Ní Ghairnéir agus Helen Ni Shé faoi dlúthdhiosca nua, den teideal AIR TIME – Airs for the Low , á sheoladh sa Seomra Caidrimh i gColáiste Mhuire Gan Smál, Luimneach ar an 5ú Mí na Nollag.
Cliceáil anseo chun éisteacht le h-agallamh a dhein Fiodhna ar an gclár An Saol ó Dheas ar 02/12/13 ar Raidió na Gaeltachta.
With an innate understanding of the slow air, this sensitive and skilled musician, Fíodhna Gardiner, invites you on a dreamlike journey into an ancient Celtic world with a hauntingly beautiful collection of Irish and Scottish airs on her new CD entitled ‘Air Time’.
With respect for tradition, Fíodhna’s playing, governed by her heart, performs these airs with complete sincerity, supported by singer Cathy Jordan and a cast of well- known musicians. Her excellent choice of a low A/B flat whistles with its rich timbre, lends this CD an air of ethereal timelessness.
Fíodhna’s first track ‘An raibh tú ar an gCarraig’…… were you at the rock and did you see my Valentine?’, one of our most beautiful love songs in the Irish tradition, holds the key to this beautifully evocative collection.
One of the highlights on the CD is Track No. 4, ‘Grá mo Chroí’, where the tempo and pace is just perfect. While engaging the listener throughout, it introduces an unusual contemporary accompaniment, which in itself beautifully compliments Fíodhna’s original composition.
Being raised in a musical household, how could Fíodhna possibly produce a CD that isn’t a family affair. Lovely to hear her father, Bobby contribute to Track No. 2 –‘Easter Snow’ and her mother Anne’s composition ‘An Ghorta’ on Track No 9
With countless other recordings featuring jigs, hornpipes and reels, this CD ‘Air Time’, placing the slow air at the heart of the traditional repertoire – is long overdue.
From the opening phrases of ‘An raibh tú ar an gCarraig’, you will be enchanted by this magical recording. Here, the listener is invited to take the air, down a musical path all too rarely travelled these days. Listen for the wonderful rendition of ‘Easter Snow’, where Fíodhna engages in musical dialogue with her dad, the great Clare accordionist, Bobby Gardiner. Both the playing and setting of ‘Amhrán na Leabhar’ evoke vividly, so many years later, the deep-felt emotions of the 19th century scholar and poet, Tomás Rua Ó Súilleabháin, at the loss of his books and manuscripts, on a fateful day off the Kerry coast.
Featuring collaborations with some of the finest artists in Irish music today, ‘Air Time’ shows this artist’s deep understanding and appreciation of our musical heritage, while embracing innovation and creativity, blending seamlessly the new with the old. It is a stunning collection by a most talented musician – one from whom we all need to hear more.
Tar slán, Fíodhna! (Ciarán Ó Gealbháin, Traditional Singer)
It is with a great sense of honour that I find myself sitting down to review this wonderful album of slow airs by Fíodhna Gardiner. Of course it is indeed such a unique occurrence in the modern world of traditional music that an album consisting totally of airs comes to the fore, and this alone is a very welcome innovation. The Gardiner name is synonymous with traditional music through the legendary Bobby Gardiner, one of Ireland’s finest ever button accordion players, so it is no surprise that the musical pedigree continues to be manifest across the generations.
Coming from a background of traditional song in both the English and Irish languages, where interpretation of such lyrics is paramount to the performance and appreciation of these most powerful melodies, I feel that the renditions performed by Fíodhna on this album are true to every essential component that such pieces require.
On a personal level, Track Two ‘Easter Snow’ and Track Ten ‘The Banks of Sullane’ stand out to me as highlights from this most beautiful collection of airs that will be forever cherished because of sensitive recordings like this one. It is important to point out at this stage that Fíodhna’s musical collaborators deserve serious mention for their magical contributions – the stunning vocals of Cathy Jordan, coupled with the wizardly accordion tones of Martín O’Connor, and of course those of her own father Bobby, augment this recording in the most appropriate way imaginable. The accompaniment throughout remains exactly what it should be, allowing the powerful melodies to take their rightful place center-stage, as one would expect from such a stellar collection of musicians: Garry O’Briain, Liam Kelly, Seamie O’Dowd, Cathy Jordan, Bobby Gardiner and Mairtin O’ Connor. In my opinion, the stewardship of Seamie O’ Dowd as producer is the perfect catalyst in reaching recording utopia.
I wish this album and Fíodhna herself all the very best for the future and congratulate her once again on catapulting these most powerful airs to their rightful place, in gaining recognition up there with the more commonly played dance tunes.
Fíodhna Gardiner’s version of ‘Easter Snow’ on low whistle, amplified by button accordion, strings and guitar provides the perfect closing coda to the film ‘The Lord’s Burning Rain’, about a teenage boys journey of discovery. The boy is given the task of riding a newly purchased horse home through the beautiful Sheha mountains of West Cork in 1960’s Ireland, and on his way he has many strange encounters, including a tryst with a Didoesque tinker woman, a broken down Protestant farmer who gives him poteen, causing him to hallucinate and imagine himself observing some major battle scenes from Ireland’s War of Independence in which his father took part. The final haunting strains of Fíodhna’s ‘Easter Snow’, playing over images of the boy’s long dead mother, strike a deep chord of human longing.
“It is a pleasure to hear this ample collection of slow airs, so well arranged and played and with such variety of sound. The slow air has a great capacity for musical expression and Fíodhna and her fellow musicians and family are to be congratulated on giving fresh life to these old and beautiful airs”. (Peter Browne, Producer, RTÉ Radio 1, Ceilí House Programme)
Fiodhna, husband, Padraig, sister, Kelley, brother-in-law, Stephen and friend, Michael Scanlon play a session with a difference – while crusing down the river Shannon from Ballina Quay, they played a variety of tunes on whistles, melodeon, guitar and keyboard. As part of the Kincora Traditional Weekend, held in Ballina/Killaloe, the Rolling Waves session was an afternoon session on board the ‘Spirit of Killaloe’ river cruises with James Whelan. With a full boat, they took sail down the river Shannon and after a while, some members of the audience sang and played music.
Fiodhna delivered master classes on tin whistle to both local and visiting players. With the class lasting for two and a half hours, students learned a few new tunes, techniques and theory. With other master classes on fiddle, accordion, song and flute, students performed in a finale concert. See this link for more details.
In preparation for the Kincora Tradidional Weekend from 19-21st April 2013, Fiodhna joins her father Bobby Gardiner and the house band to play a number of selections. Additionally, she speaks to Ciaran Hanrahan about her time in the Middle East, where she played with an Irish traditional group called Inis Oirr. She finishes up by playing a Scottish air which she learned from Marianne Campbell in Abu Dhabi, entitled ‘The Dreams of Old Pa Fogerty’. Fiodhna is accompanied on keyboard by her husband, Padraig.
Ceili House from the Lakeside Hotel, Ballina, Co Tipperary, will be broadcast on April 6th 2013.
On Friday 1st March, an edition of RTE Radio’s ‘Ceili House’ will be recorded to promote the inaugural Kincora Traditional Weekend. The line up of musicians include Martin Connolly, Fiodhna Gardiner, Eileen O’Brien, Bobby Gardiner, Leon Agnew, Deirdre Scanlan, Paul Smyth & others. Event venue: Lakeside Hotel, Ballina at 8.30pm.
Sé mo Laoch’ programme Season 7, Episode 4, featured Fíodhna’s father, accordionist Bobby Gardiner from Co. Clare. Fíodhna along with Mother, Ann and sisters, Kelley and Lynda spoke about Bobby’s life as a traditional Irish musician and teacher. Fíodhna joined her Dad and sisters playing a selection of jigs in the video clip below:
Fíodhna regularly joins flute player, Paul Smyth, husband and guitar player, Pádraig Hyland, bodhrán player, Michael Hackett, accordion player, Caitríona Short, flute player, Leon Agnew, singer and fiddle player, Deirdre Scannlon and others in Liam Ó Riain’s, Ballina/Killaloe on a Tuesday night. Organized by Paul Smyth, this session is a great night of craic ‘s ceoil.
Mar is eol daoibh osclaíodh An Seomra Caidrimh, áis nua do phobal an Choláiste (lucht labhartha na Gaeilge ach go háirithe) go hoifigiúil an téarma seo caite agus tá ag éirí go hiontach leis an seomra ó shin i leith. Tá An Seomra Caidrimh (L112) lonnaithe i bhfoirgneamh na leabharlainne, suíomh lárnach ar champas an Choláiste.
Tá an Seomra Caidrimh in úsáid mar Ionad Cruinnithe, mar Ionad Ceoil agus Rince, mar Ionad Seolta Leabhar agus mar Sheomra Ranga ach thar aon rud eile feidhmíonn sé mar áit inar féidir le baill uile an choláiste (mic léinn agus baill foirne) teacht le chéile in atmaisféar chairdiúil, neamhfhoirmeáilte chun an Ghaeilge a labhairt agus chun taitneamh a bhaint as comhluadar a chéile. Chun an misean seo a bhaint amach chinneamar sraith de choirmeacha ceol a chur ar siúl sa tSeomra ag am lóin. Cuireadh tús iontach leis an sraith seo ar an gCéadaoin, 15 Feabhra nuair a bhailigh slua ollmhór le chéile chun taitneamh a bhaint as bua agus ealaín na gceoltóirí seo a leanas: Bobby Gardiner (Bosca Ceoil & mileoidean), Nóra Butler (Amhránaí), Eileen O’ Brien (Fidil) agus Eoghan O’ Sullivan (Giotár, An Fheadóg Mhór & An Bosca Ceoil). Do sheinn an Dr. Fiodhna Gardiner-Hyland in éineacht leo chomh maith.
B’iad An Dr Fíodhna Gardiner-Hyland (Oideolaíocht an Oideachais) agus Paul Collins (Roinn an Cheoil) a d’eagraigh an ócáid iontach seo. Bhain an slua an-taitneamh go deo as ceol agus amhránaíocht na gceoltóirí agus bhí atmaisféar thar a bheith speisialta le braith sa tSeomra Caidrimh an lá áirithe sin. Beidh seisiún ceoil, ‘Caidreamh na Céadaoine’ ar siúl sa tSeomra Caidrimh gach Céadaoin ag 1.10pm, bígí linn!! Tuilleadh eolais le fáil ó firstname.lastname@example.org
Agalamh idir Fíodhna Ní Ghairnéir agus Helen Ni She faoi Taithi and Ceol Thar Lear. Chaith Fíodhna ceithre bliana déag sa Mhean Oirthear, idir Dubai, Kuwait agus Abu Dhabi lena fhear chéile Pádraig. Tugann sí tuairsc beag faoina am ansin – ag cur síos ar na deiseanna iontach éigsúla a fuair sí, an cultúir éagsúlacht sna Emirates, tréimhse ghearr ag léichtóireacht i Saudi Arabia agus seisiúin ceoil tradisiúnta in Abu Dhabi. Anois tá sí ar air I gColáiste Mhuire gan Smál, Luimneach ag léichtóireacht san oideachais.
Seo clip don seó ar clár TG4, i gColáiste Mhuire gan Smál.
Fíodhna played whistles and low whistle with traditional Irish band, Inis Oirr from 2004-2011, who provided entertainment in some of the most luxurious venues across the Middle East, keeping Irish music alive there. See www.inis-oirr.com for further details.
St. Patrick’s Day celebrations kicked off early in Oman with Fiodhna and Inis Oirr playing music outdoors at the pool area of the Hyatt hotel. A temporary stage had been erected next to the main pool and as guests ate their brunch, Inis Oirr meddled in reels, jigs and airs which seemed to please the audience. After a while, a group of locally trained Irish dancers took to the stage. Apart from receiving a free tan, with temperatures rising to 40 degrees Celsius, it was an extremely enjoyable gig.