Laghdú, the title of this album by Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh and Dan Trueman, translates as a lessening, a decrease, a reduction.
The music they have written stretches and abstracts the DNA of Norwegian and Irish fiddling; the result is something new, sparse and stunning. It ranges from the near-silent to the nigh-on orchestral, at times exploding joyously from their two beautiful hybrid 10-string fiddles, at times barely there, holding time still.
Utterly unique, this is music of an exceptional and unusual beauty.
The album comes in a stunning triptych cover designed by Rossi McAuley of Distinctive Repetition.
Printed in soy-based ink on sustainable board at Generation Press in Brighton, a printing plant where they generate their own electricity, and the water leaving the plant is cleaner than it is on entering.
The paper has been embossed with lines that give it a three dimensional feel and has a beautiful texture.
It is held together with two rubber bands which echo the strings of the instruments.
Two specific fiddles, two specific players, one specific outcome.
The primary request when creating the design for Laghdú's album cover was to produce something that could stand alone as a piece of art, where information takes second place to overall composition.
The materials and methods used in the production of this piece juxtapose both a distinctive tactility and importantly a responsibility toward the environment in the way it was printed by our colleagues at Generation Press England.
The integral and unique relationship between Dan Trueman and Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh that makes the album what it is ultimately provides the focus for its design.
They talk using the 10 strings of their Hardanger d'Amore fiddles and the sounds created by the players seem to endlessly cross, expand, re-direct, contract and ultimately lessen.
Laghdú is a conversation between friends, the cover is our attempt to visualise that conversation.
--Rossi McAuley of Distinctive Repetition
Dan Trueman is a composer, fiddler, and electronic musician.
He began studying violin at the age of 4, and decades later, after a chance encounter, fell in love with the Norwegian Hardanger fiddle, an instrument and tradition that has deeply affected all of his work, whether as a fiddler, a composer, or musical explorer.
Dan has worked with many groups and musicians, including Trollstilt and QQQ, the American Composers Orchestra, So Percussion, the RTÉ Concert Orchestra, the Brentano and Daedelus string quartets, the Crash Ensemble, many wonderful fiddlers, and has performed across America, Ireland, and Norway.
Dan's work has been recognized by fellowships and grants from the Guggenheim and MacArthur Foundations, among others.
He is Professor of Music at Princeton University, where he teaches counterpoint, electronic music, and composition.
Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh plays traditional and contemporary folk music on Hardanger d'Amore.
Caoimhín's distinctive sound can be traced back to an early interest in both the sound of the flat-pitch uilleann pipes and a love for the traditional music of Kerry and Clare.
A proclivity for tuning the fiddle below concert pitch and a tendency to play on two strings simultaneously had already given him a unique and distinctive sound when he first encountered the Norwegian hardanger fiddle, which has since become his chosen instrument.
He has performed on some of the most beautiful stages in the world, including the Sydney Opera House, the Royal Albert Hall and the Lincoln Center.
He has made twelve albums to date, performs solo, in duos, and with the bands This is How we Fly and The Gloaming. He lives in Dublin.
Caoimhín & Dan play a stunning 10-string instrument made by Norwegian luthier Salve Håkedal. The top five bowed gut strings plus the five sympathetic strings below give the fiddle a wonderful resonant sound. It is somewhere between a hardanger fiddle and a viola d'amore , so it has been christened the Hardanger d'Amore.
They use baroque and transitional bows made by a wonderful French bowmaker named Michel Jamonneau. His bows are things of great beauty, like paintbrushes for sound.
"a seamless and unfettered soundscape ::: there's enough space and light here for influences as diverse as baroque to minimalism to breathe free ::: the work of musicians revelling in the moment: a rare find"
★★★★★ THE IRISH TIMES
"this music defies genre, it's just a beautiful, spacious and luscious soundscape. Everyone should hear this."
"Wide of spectrum, loose of limb and oh so downright magnificent [Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh & Dan Trueman] have let sparks fly on their debut collaboration Laghdú."
--Siobhán Long in The Irish Times
"possibly one of the most fulsome and beautiful recordings I have ever heard. Great music has this magnificent power over us, a power to which the heart must yield always and without regret."
--Iarla Ó Lionáird
"ASTOUNDING ::: Replete with unexpected melodic twists and turns, the tunes are highly cinematic, painting richly impressionistic images."
--Colm O'Hare, Hot Press
"a lovely warm bath of silky string sounds from this innovative duo, treading the line between tradition and invention"
"a gorgeous album"
--Jim Carroll, The Irish Times
"austerely elegant, spare, and evocative, there's not a note out of place. Yet nothing is predictable: looping phrases suddenly unfurl to produce incredibly beautiful melodies, meeting together in unusual harmonies between the two fiddlers."
"a truly refreshing and inspiring musical encounter"