Simply entitled Pipes, this is the first full album that renowned piper and tutor John Mulhearn has released for nine years.
Recorded at St Mary’s Place in Appin, chosen for its acoustic, capable of reflecting the singular voice of the great highland bagpipes, John brings together his undoubted performance skills along with a creative spirit to showcase his own compositions.
Using only the pipes as his instrument and with a minimal backing of natural sounds to complement the merest of production input, this is a departure from his previous electronic based recordings, but none the less for it.
There are some fine tunes in this collection drawing the listener in from outside as is perhaps suggested in the opening Apologists.
With a nod to the past, Idle Pint recreates a bygone sound that might have been heard on Hogmanay in many a grandparent’s home and the joyous Bigfoot Set is great craic. As one who is frequently awoken by assorted feathery creatures singing their hearts out at unholy hours of the morning, I had a wee chuckle at The Dawn Chorus. I sense a payback in the offing!
There is an honesty in this recording that acknowledges the ancient heart of piping lore yet with a contemporary feel that is very much prevalent in modern piping.
Those who have attended the World Piping Championships will identify with the hypnotic effect of the drones as the dear green place resonates to B-flat, snatches of melodies meandering through the throng.
John at times recreates that feeling with avenues of sound at times uplifting, sometimes mesmeric, but always intriguing. Closing the album with A Lament for Hope, a tune that harbours the soul of piobaireachd, there is little doubt with musicians such as John instructing future generations of pipers, that hope is not forlorn.
More information about John and his music can be found HERE.