Steve Cooney, a long-time fixture of the Irish music scene, has, after being involved in making hundreds of records, finally released his debut album. It is a compilation of fourteen tunes, all for solo guitar in Cooney’s own arrangements, by Irish harpers, including Turlough O’Carolan and Thomas Conlan. As well as being a collection of beautiful tunes, ‘Ceol Ársa Cláirsí’ is also a carefully researched historical document, relying heavily on archival work by Cooney and others.
Cooney writes about the album, “Martin Hayes challenged me to do it over a year ago… he knows that I like the studio process where you can – at your ease – build up rich textures through the multilayering of different instruments; and so he put it to me to create a CD of just a single instrument… a bit of pressure!
“As a guitar player, it’s important for me to recognise that we – as guitar players – have the potential to access the great depth of the Gaelic harp tradition: we pluck strings with our fingers as do the harpers. The tonal sensations are also similar – the steel strung guitar shares elements of tonality with the old wire strung harps.”