Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|From Clare to Here / Martin Hayes Dennis Cahill|
Actors: Martin Hayes, Dennis Cahill
Director: Eamon McElwee
Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Sports, Musicals & Performing Arts, Documentary
FROM CLARE TO HERE - DVD Movie
Still Waiting for the Definitive Martin Hayes Video
Christopher Bonds | 04/24/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"In my opinion Martin Hayes is one of the greatest Irish fiddlers working today--indeed, one of the finest all-around MUSICIANS working today. His collaborations with Chicago Guitarist Dennis Cahill are legendary among fans of Irish music. What makes him special to me is not only his "roots"--his father is or was a fiddler in a ceili band--but also his amazing inventiveness and his complete immersion and involvement in what he is doing. If you aren't familiar with him, I strongly recommend the CDs Live in Seattle and Under the Moon as two good places to start.
When I discovered this video from Kultur, I bought it in high hopes that it would contain a lot of uncut footage of Martin and Dennis in full form. As a violinist myself, I am always interested in watching other players to see what I can learn from them. Also, I enjoy straight concert videos as a next-best substitute for being there. I was disappointed to discover that this video does not fall into that category. It is more of a documentary, so I will try to be fair and review it is such.
Here is what the documentary consists of: Lots of shots of Seattle, Ireland, quite a bit of talk from Martin, Dennis, and interviews with other Irish or Scottish musicians including Paddy Moloney of the Chieftains, Fiddler Alisdair Fraser, and Altan Singer-fiddler Mairead Ni Mhaonaigh, and scenes from live performances including the Sebastopol festival in California. All of this is presented through an editing technique of quick cuts (we are just starting to get into the music when we are cut to a shot of Martin talking about the music, for example) that never give the viewer a chance to see a full performance. I can't recall any place in the video where we actually get a full uncut performance of anything! One of the most egregious scenes shows Martin and Dennis finishing a live performance to a standing ovation, leaving the stage, and then quickie interviews with concert-goers who rave on and on about how great and transcendent the concert was. Why don't WE get to see some of the concert?!
The words that Martin, Dennis and the others are certainly important and worth hearing in that they are spoken by people who have spent their lives doing this kind of music. We can learn many valuable things from listening to them. The problem with this video is that we don't get enough of either words OR music. Consequently, the experience is like eating food that tastes good but leaves you unsatisfied and wanting more, after the food is gone. The makers made a decision to create a film which constantly shifts gears and gives us snippets of this and that in the hope that somehow the viewer will put it all together and have a complete picture of Irish music. They should have known better. This video may possibly have appeal for people who don't know anything about Irish music, or music in general, other than that they like it. But for those who are looking for complete performances, or who want a more systematic discussion of Irish music, it will most likely be a disappointment, as it was for me. I hope that Martin and Dennis were not responsible for the way this video was produced. They deserve much, much better treatment."