Another Review from one of our budding Propergandists, Proper Music agents who infiltrate gigs for free. You too can get into gigs for free, click here for more details.
Zoë Conway,Tyneside Irish Club, Thu 16th Oct ’08
Returning after popular demand for her second year at the Tyneside Irish Festival, was fiddler Zoë Conway, along with husband John McIntyre on guitar.
In comparison to the previous year’s performance by this charming husband-wife duo, the audience turn-out was considerably larger. Word had spread locally that this young fiddle player has not only experienced the excitement of ‘Riverdance’ fame, but has also been voted ‘Best trad female’ by Irish Music Magazine. After just the first tune, Zoë had confronted our high expectations with her almost effortless virtuosity. We were in for a night of quality music!
In addition to her top Irish fiddle playing, Zoë took great advantage of her classically trained stylings to serve up not only classical numbers, but some jazz and bluegrass as well. Stand-out pieces included ‘Tiger Rag’ and ‘Dance Espagnol’, which allowed guitarist John to show of some of his skills as well.
However there was nothing arrogant or ‘showy’ about these performances. The talent present was undeniable, but these musicians were just here to do their jobs and present us with their versions of the songs as raw and naturally as they were written. Amongst the array of exceptionally played, but still very modest fiddle tunes, there was also a song or two. Zoë’s pure, light and faultless voice on these undecorated pieces silenced the entire room, and while it was not quite as dazzling as her fiddle playing, was extremely beautiful nonetheless.
I was lucky enough to grab a few words with Zoë at the end of the night. Counting Tommy Peoples amongst her musical inspirations, it was certainly evident that her playing contained a similar level of fine intricacy and elegance, which had clearly stunned the audience. Many musicians in the crowd left feeling completely awestruck by the superb talent; something which I’m sure will have pleased Zoë herself.
“One of the things I love most about performing is the response from the audience. After all that’s who I’m doing this all for, and I really like to think I’m pleasing people by playing.”
Although this concert did not match the typical excitement experienced at folk festivals, or gigs by the likes of Bellowhead, the magnificent musicianship coupled with Zoë’s incredibly inviting onstage manner still made for a lovely night out. We were given a true sense of Ireland, and appreciation for music…REAL music.
For the benefit of anyone unfamiliar with this duo, here’s a video clip: