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Gavin Whelan's eponymous album, by contrast is superbly accompanied almost throught, so is more listenable as a whole, Gavin is a sometime pupil of Brid O'Donohue, amongst his other teachers and influances, and he is someting of a young turk on the whistle, far more flamboyant than his mentor. He is certainly a technically accomplished and musically sensitive performer, there is some notably excellent bodhran from Colm Murphy and fine fiddling from Zoe Conway. Particularly enjoyable are the tracks where Gavin duets with the fiddle or with Aogan Lynch's concertina. The insert notes like Brid's carefully source the tunes and the selection of material is well balanced.

Jem Hammond, Taplas Magazine


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His debut album Gavin Whelan, self-issued in 2002, has him recording with a plethora of musicians both well-known from associations with bands like De Dannan, Danú, and Slide, and session players like Eoin O'Neill, Ian Lambe and Zoe Conway. The music is as hot as Whelan's energetic playing and his enthusiastic accompanists - Colm Murphy flakes some mighty bodhrán on Seamus Connolly's and Eoin O'Neill's bouzouki adds subtle undercurrents to James Byrne's Highlands. Brogan's Ferry has Whelan joining fiddler Zoe Conway, Ian Lambe and Eoin O'Neill for a track redolent of a good session. His solo spots are equally momentous especially 'Bean Dubh an Ghlenanna' where his restrained playing transmits the necessary melancholia devoid of technical overkill. Gavin Whelan's music and his application is passionate, fiery and most of all, he plays like he means it. There is a hunger here that same hunger that Shannon and Gavin had when they were first kicking up the dust. Gavin Whelan is an album of passionate traditional music enhanced by a soul and gumption that many bigger leaguers lack. Gavin Whelan is a name worth remembering.

The Green Man Review

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Gavin Whelan: Timeless Magic - A young Artist with both talent and dreams.
Everybody understands that music in Ireland has huge big value, different
generations produce great musicians, and Gavin is now to be considered to be
one of these.
This is one album that collectors who love irish music must buy.

Alfredo De Pietra, Keltika Magazine

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It's usual to say that a lot of Irish musicians begin with the tin whistle and after that a change of instrument. Gavin Whelan proves that this instrument is just as important as the others.(fiddle,guitar bodhran....)

The playing of Gavin is brilliant, traditional and in the same time actual with a young touch.This CD is great, Gavin is having the same succès as others like(Sean Ryan,
Mary Bergin...).
Gavin is an amazing example of what it is possible to do with a"simple tin whistle"with magic fingers.

Yann-Erwan programme"le petit jus Irlandais" on www.radio-bro-gwened.com

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Gavin Whelan - GAVIN WHELAN (Own Label)

One of Ireland's leading young exponents of the tin-whistle, south-Dublin-born Gavin's first (eponymous) CD is a delightful sequence of tune-sets played and arranged with taste and imagination. The tunes he plays originate from various sources, but mostly from Co. Clare, although Gavin's careful to credit his own sources as well as any compositional credits where known. The recording is as clean and clear as Gavin's fabulous playing, and he's accompanied stylishly (and admirably selectively) by some of the great young high-profile names from today's thriving Irish traditional music scene: Colm Murphy and Donnchadh Gough (bodhráns), Eoín O'Neil and Mick Brodrick (bouzoukis), Ian Lamb, Gavin Ralston and Donnchadh Moynihan (guitars), Zoë Conway (fiddle), Finbarr Naughton (mandolin) and Aoghàn Lynch (concertina). (Mick and Zoë had been members of Gavin's original band Dal Riada.) But what a discovery Gavin himself is - I know of few tin-whistle players whom I could sincerely describe as permanently exciting, but Gavin's one of them, no doubt about it; the fluid, and yet mellifluous, precision of his fingerwork is fascinating, and I never once tired of the tone of his instrument even though it's inevitably a major presence throughout the CD. Tracks 2 and 8 are whistle-and-bodhrán duets (with Colm) that just demand to be repeated at once, while track 4's Highlands set is delicacy personified and the fleet-footed mandolin and bouzouki work provides the ideal foil for Gavin's marvellous dexterity on the set of hornpipes (track 9). The relatively few tracks involving more than just two or three musicians fly by like nobody's business, deftly yet without any sense of undue hurrying, with every strand of the texture limpid and uncluttered. Faultless playing, but that definitely doesn't mean soulless. I'm not exaggerating when I say that the whole album is one of the most purely enjoyable releases of Irish traditional instrumental music on the market today.

David Kidman, Net Rythms.

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This is the liveliest tin whistle CD I have ever heard. Gavin Whelan breathes life into a whistle indeed. When you hear the first cut of Reels: "The Blackhaired Lass"/"The Mountain Top"/"Paddy Faheys" it is not that you want to get up and dance, as indeed you do, but that the whistle itself does have a life of it's own. And Gavin Whelan keeps up the pace throughout right to the end with "Michael Relihan's"/"Gan Ainm"/"Paddy Touhey's." Even the "quiet" pieces, such as the beautiful "Beann Dubh An Ghleanna" have that energy. This says much of the man Gavin Whelan as well as the musician.

Along with a great team of supporting musicians, who also have a great spark
of life in their performance here Gavin Whelan has created a CD that his
parents, who the CD is dedicated to, should feel proud of. -AK

Celtic Beat Magazine

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On first listening to this album by Irish whistle player Gavin Whelan the first word that popped straight into my head was "virtuoso" ~ what a talented player Gavin is and what a great re-interpreter of traditional Irish tunes he is too.
Most of the tracks feature between 2 and 4 tunes segued/welded together to form a single piece ~ a trick used by many traditional Irish musicians and one that works well here.
Backed by various traditional instruments, it's on the fast-paced tunes that Gavin's playing really stands out ~ just listen to the intricacy of his playing on track 5 "The Eel In The Sink/"Mamma's Pet"/"Miss Langfords". That said, Gavin is equally at home on the slower paced "Slow Airs". He shows a real delicate touch on track 6 "A Hiuadai Pheadair" ~ this tune reminds me a
bit of some of the music featured in the recent "Lord Of The Rings" trilogy of films.
The problem with featuring an album that focuses solely on one instrument is that the music can start to sound a wee bit "samey." Gavin neatly avoids falling into this trap by featuring different combinations of acoustic instruments on each track ~ fiddle and bouzouki on one tune, concertina and guitar on another. This approach works well as there's plenty of light and shade, not only with the different pacings of the various melodies but also with the variety of instruments used to back them.

Of the tunes featured here, I particularly liked tracks 1, 5 & 6 ("A Hiuadai Pheadair") being a personal favourite. Other highlights include the solo "Dark Woman Of The Glen" and "Tie The Ribbons"/"The Girl That Broke My Heart"/"Devany's Goat" but truth be told, there isn't a bad track on the album.

Gavin has chosen some highly memorable/melodic (and as mentioned above) intricate tunes to showcase his undoubted abilities as a fine whistle player. Musically, I was also impressed with Zoe Conway's fiddle playing, Donnacha Moynihan's gutsy acoustic guitar work and Colm Murphy's tireless bodhran bashing!

"GAVIN WHELAN" is a highly entertaining album, immaculately performed by a group of talented musicians ~ which goes to show (yet again) what a wealth of traditional talent there is in Ireland!

"GAVIN WHELAN" was reviewed by Dave Walmsley
Star Ratings: ****

Fair Oaks Entertainment

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GAVIN WHELAN

From the word "go", on the CD of this wonderful artist Gavin Whelan, you get the idea, this lad's been around the block. Although still in his early twenties, on one of the least expensive of instruments, his tone on the Generation whistles is exquisite. Excellent interpretations of so many traditional tunes, it's hard to single out one and the seemingly effortless playing belie the fact that this is a consummate artist at work. All the tunes are superb examples of fiddle, whistle and pipe tunes, and his talent never lets him down.

While the liner notes on the CD tell us the origins of the tunes, who wrote them, who played them; who he learned them from etc, Gavin could hold his own in any company.

Whether the selection is a set of reels, jigs or an air they are all given the respect they deserve as they are all great tunes. He is a fine musician.

He has surrounded himself with as good a band of people as you could find. Both Donnacha Gough and Colm Murphy are masters of the bodhrán and Eoin O Neill is a musician's musician. Zoë Conway is a young fiddle player who is going on to great things, count on it. Also the guitarists, mandolin, concertina and bouzouki player all deserve mention, but it is Gavin Whelan's CD and when you hear it, you'll know why.

Although released in 2001, this CD, for any serious collector of Irish music, is a must find. You won't be disappointed.

William Ramoutar
IRISH WAYS PROGRAMME WFCF RADIO, ST AUGUSTINE, FLORIDA U.S.A.

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Gavin Whelan, Gavin Whelan (Tallaght, 2001)

In these days of very heavily, sometimes over-produced records and hordes of big-name guest appearances, it is great to see a traditional music player getting down to the roots. The tin whistle is a musical instrument that is all too often overlooked when we think of music. Yet it is an instrument that is relatively inexpensive and easily portable, and if you listen to Gavin Whelan you will realize it can be a magical item.

This CD gives us 15 examples of great traditional sounds that come primarily from an instrument that we all probably think we could play -- but when you hear an expert like this you realize it is just a thought.

He starts in Donegal with a set of reels that lays the tone of the album -- good, clean, clear and addictive. He later launches into a series of jigs, reels and slow airs that traverse the country. I particularly enjoyed a set of Highland reels and the slow air "Dark Woman of the Glen."

This CD will have many people wishing they could play like this and dreaming of producing a tin whistle from their inside pocket at weddings, wakes and funerals to enthrall the crowds. Unfortunately, most of us do not have the talent of Gavin Whelan, so keep dreaming.

This album reminds me of the complex simplicity of Irish traditional music. What sounds like an impromptu tune has a history, has often evolved from another instrumental incarnation and is played with subtle backing of guitars, bouzouki and bodhran to weave the spell. For those who like Irish traditional tunes well played, this is a must-have album.

by Nicky Rossiter Rambles.net
24 September 2005

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Whelan Delights With trad tunes

TRADITIONAL tunes to warm the heart, when leading traditional tin whistle exponent and respected teacher Gavin Whelan takes the Lobby stage on
Saturday.

He will be joined by Tony Byrne (guitar/vocals) and Tony Quinn (bodhran). Dubliner Gavin spent Time in Doolin learning from the late Micho Russell.

Indeed there are echoes of Micho in his playing. He was a member of Dál Riada along with such fine young peers as Zoe Conway and Mick Brodrick, both of whom guest on Gavin’s debut solo album, simply titled Irish Traditional Music, on his own Tallaght Records.
The CD, like Gavin’s chosen instrument, is simple and unpretetentious but his fluent approach to jigs, reels, hornpipes, highands and slow airs is expressive, tasteful and beautiful, placing the 23 year old in the ranks of great tin whistle exponants such as Mary Bergin, Sean Ryan and Micho himself.

Also guesting on this production are Eoin O Neill (bouzouki), Ian Lamb, Donacha Moynihan and Gavin Ralston (guitars), Colm Murphy and Donnacha Gough (bodhrán), Finbar Naughton (mandolin) and Aogán Lynch (concertina).

Paul Dromey - The Evening Echo.

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The tin whistle is a musical instrument that is all too often overlooked when we think of music. Yet it is the one instrument that is relatively inexpensive, easily portable and if you listen to Gavin Whelan you will realise that it is a magical item. This CD gives us fifteen examples of great traditional sounds that come primarily from an instrument that we all probably think we could play but when you hear an expert like this you realise it is just thought. From Donegal with a set of reels that set the tone of the album – good, clean, clear and addictive he launches in a series of jigs, reels and slow airs that traverse the country. I particularly enjoyed a set of Highlands and the slow air ‘Dark Woman of the Glen.’ This CD will have many people wishing they could play like this and dreaming of producing a tin whistle from their inside pocket as weddings, wakes and funerals to enthral the crowds. Unfortunately, we do not have the talent of Gavin Whelan so it will be just a dream. This album reminds us of the complex simplicity of Irish traditional music. What sounds like an impromptu tune has a history, has often evolved from another instrumental incarnation and is played with subtle backing of guitars, bouzouki and bodhran to weave the spell. For those who like Irish traditional tunes well played this is a must have album.

Nicky Rossiter - Folking.com

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For you whistle fans---and we know you are out there in your thousands---Dublin's Gavin Whelan is out with his first album, appropriately entitled, Gavin Whelan. We always felt that Mary Bergin is the best whistle player in the world. Here comes Whelan. This all-instrumental album could have been so boring. 15 cuts of whistle? But, no!!!! The guest musicians here give the album a total ambient variety on each cut. Above all is the wonderful playing of Whelan himself. Bergin taught us all that the key to a great whistle player is breath control. Not the number of notes you can play in 30 seconds. Breath control for the phrasing. Whelan's is wonderful. He also understands the music and plays it flawlessly. Style. Class. A winner. Surrounded by a ton of great musicians, each set of tunes is carefully thought out. The more I listen to this, the better it gets. A sure signpost of all great albums. This lad is a definite contender for Newcomer Of The Year.
Find it. He will be around a long time. Big time.

Rating: 3&1/2 Harps
Bill Margeson - LiveIreland.com

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We would wager a week's wages on our pet theory, that in every house in Ireland there will lurk at least one tin whistle. Down the back of a sofa, in a kitchen drawer, corroding in a cellar, attic or outhouse. Such is the instrument's ubiquity, its role for many as an "introductory" instrument that it's often accorded little in the way of respect.

Whelan turns that vision of the whistle on its head. A razor-sharp musical intelligence and an infectious joie de vivre at one minute coax from the few ounces of tin a soaring celebration and, the next, a heartfelt and heart-searing cry of anguish.

Whelan's ability is attested to by the roll-call of quality musicians who've turned out to give him their support. Eoin O'Neill (bouzouki), Mick Brodrick (bouzouki), Ian Lamb (guitar), Donnacha Moynihan (guitars), Gavin Ralston (guitar), Colm Murphy (bodhran), Donnacha Gough (bodhran), Finbarr Naughton (mandolin), Zoe Conway (fiddle) and Aogan Lynch (concertina) at one time or another lend their shoulder to the wheel, colouring and inflecting Whelan's graceful, powerful music.
Whereas Whelan is capable of gripping the listener on his own - as in the opening reel set and the haunting A Hiudai Pheadair Eamainn- he obviously gets a kick out of duetting with another melody player and nowhere is this more evident than in his jig set with Aogan Lynch, The Pipe On The Hob/The Piper's Chair/Na Ceannabhain Bhana. No sooner has that track finished than Whelan pulls out all the stops to render a fluid and exuberant set of reels, The Westwind/The Gooseberry Bush.
Whelan has every reason to be proud of his work, and we all would have good reason to be give it a listen at our earliest opportunity.

Pay the Reckoning

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The tin whistle is often underrated as an instrument in Irish Trad Music. Although very cheap and very simple, this little metal tube can produce masterful music in the hands of the right person. Such a person is Gavin Whelan from Tallaght in Dublin and his CD, just named Gavin Whelan, is proof of this. Beautiful whistling from start to finish.

Many Irish musicians start out on the whistle and then “graduate” to what they think are more proper instruments. In fact, Gavin Whelan is also a piper, but fair dues to him for sticking to the whistle on this CD.

From the first bars played you just can’t help tapping your foot in rhythm with the music. Fortunately Whelan has not succumbed to the fast playing which seems to be the norm among “young” musicians today. He plays a steady whistle and because of the lack of speed you can really enjoy what you are hearing.

Don’t get this wrong and think this is a CD of slow airs. In fact there are only two slow airs on the CD but Whelan masters them as well as the predominantly jigs and reels. Most of the tunes are trad. from Co. Clare, but some have been attributed composers such as Tommy Peoples and Paddy Fahey, to name two of the greats.

Whelan is backed up by a number of other first-rate musicians on fiddle, guitars, bouzoukis, mandolin, concertina and bodhráns and whether they are playing as “just” duos or with the whole line-up the music is just brilliant. I have enjoyed this CD immensely on my way to and from work or just relaxing on the couch, ever since I got it.
I can thoroughly recommend it.

(May 2005)

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Live Review. Beo Celtic Music Festivial, National Concert Hall, Dublin

With an all but packed house, temperatures were running high long before Galicia’s answer to either Peter Pan or Jimi Hendrix (depending on your particular mythological preferences), Carlos Nunez made an appearance. It was a brave Gavin Whelan who took on the stage armed with noting more than just a few whistles and Liam Meehan, guitarist for company.
Reeling an electric repertoire that owed particular debt to Josephine Marsh, Whelan shimmied from a magnificently grounded reading of the slow air Bean Dubh an Ghelanna to a mosquito-itch of jigs and Reels that scurried ever more urgently skywards, their intricate curlicues lost in the neither regions of the concert hall.

Siobhan Long - The Irish Times.

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This is an exciting album of Irish traditional music. Gavin Whelan can make the whistle sing and his self-titled album achieves a purity and simplicity of uncluttered excellence. The range of material covered is impressive, too: no less than 36 tunes over 15 tracks with sets of reels and jigs predominating. Although the album is mainly based on traditional tunes, nine of them are credited to seven composers.

Whelan was born and lives in Dublin but many visits to County Clare have evidently been a big influence on his playing and selection of music. He is ably supported by 11 musicians playing bouzouki, guitar, bodhran, mandolin, fiddle and concertina.

Colm Murphy and Donnacha Gough's bodhran playing makes a significant impact on most tracks as this instrument combines particularly well with the Eb whistle Whelan favors. Other musicians making their mark include Finbarr Naughton on mandolin and Zoe Conway on fiddle -- both instruments underpin the album's traditional base.

From the opening set of reels this is music to lift your spirits and even inspire some impromptu dancing. Your imagination might well transpose you to the pubs of Dublin or bars of County Clare! Whelan's whistle playing is always dazzling but appropriately paced and beautifully phrased. As well as the typically fast tunes, Whelan also displays mastery of the slow air with two fine examples including the unaccompanied "Bean Dubh An Ghleanna/Dark Woman of the Glen" that highlights the lyricism of his playing.

The album builds up in intensity through the album much like a live gig or pub session. It is particularly impressive when Whelan is joined by four or five other musicians creating a characteristically expansive sound in the jigs and reels. Several of the highlights hail from County Clare including the jigs "The Pipers Chair" and "The Cliffs of Moher" (Clare version) and the reel "Micheal Relihan's."

If you like your Celtic music acoustically simple yet free-spirited, then this will be one for you.

written by Andy Jurgis for - Rambles.net

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Gavin Whelan "Gavin Whelan"

Label: Tallaght Records; 2002; Playing time: 51.10 min
It's been a while since I received a record of straight whistle playing, and what a way to break the deadlock. Gavin Whelan is a young whistle player from Tallaght, Dublin, not exactly a hotbed of trad talent, but who cares? On discovery of the youngster's talent, the Whelan family would spend many hours on the rocky road to Doolin, where Gavin played and learned under people such as Micho Russell. Further summers spent at the Willie Clancy Summer school under the tuition of Sean Ryan and Fintan Vallely reinforced Whelan's love, and by his late teens he had formed the successful band Dal Riada with young fiddler Zoë Conway. 2002 saw the release of this, his self-titled debut album.

This is a record of unsullied, sturdy playing. Versatile, strong whistling is the order of the day, and the accompaniment of a series of discerning guitarists and bouzouki players adds just the right shade of vibrancy. The slow air "A Huadaí Pheadair Eamainn" is a beautiful example of what Whelan can do - he is confident enough as a performer to let the melody stand for itself, using only very subtle ornamentation to make his mark. With regard to ensemble playing, Whelan shines when paired with the likes of Aogán Lynch on concertina or Zoë Conway on fiddle, the drive of bouzouki and bodhrán pushing either pair forward, the years of Whelan's session involvement quite obvious.
There is no question that this is an album from a player who will continue to excite for quite some time. The future of the whistle looks assured.

Jennifer Byrne - Folkworld

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"Debuts seldom come as fresh as and vibrant as this. Young whistle-player Whelan is a formidable talent. Bare boned and embellished in all the right places. Whelan does particular justice to the pair of jigs, Seamus Connolly’s/Tommy Peoples with noting more than Colm Murphy’s bodhran to bolster the flightly whistle.his inpeccable phrasing is further reinforced by Aogán Lynch’s concertina and Eoin O’ Neil’s bouzouki on The Pipe on the hob set.

Clare tunes predominate, but Whelan somehow makes them all his own with an enviable lightness of touch. Fingers crossed he can hang on to his free-form delivery after word gets out of his remarkable debut."

Siobhán Long - The Irish Times

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"Until recently there were very few whistle albums available, but all of a sudden were spoilt for choice, Gavin Whelan who adds his debut recording at the age of 22 to the pipeline as created something formidable and to be proud of. At a time when speed seems to be the essence amongst young players it is refreshing to hear Gavin’s steady pace, it is level and just right I’d say. With this steady and traditional album, Gavin manages to be himself on these well tested, tried and often played tunes. Bodhrán is the main accompanying instrument in the hands of Donnacha Gough and Colm Murphy. It is crisp and clean with the bouzouki and guitars adding bouyancy appropriate for the lightness of Gavin’s mainly Eb whistle. That pitch attractive and always good for tunes is particularly sweet on the whistle. He veers from it only once on his version of the O Domhnaill Hiudaií Pheadaí Eomonn. He is true to the song. Understanding the air and obviously paying attention to the words.

The tunes came from many sources and he mentions them all, paddy Fahey, Tommy peoples, James Byrne, Josiphine Keegan and so on, Gavin Learned from masters like Sean Potts in Dublin and micho Russell in Doolin. His influences than stretch way beyond that with the west coast featuring highly, ensuring that these old tunes sound, crisp and clear in Gavin’s hands."

Ita Kelly - Irish Music Magazine.

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"The fourth whistle album this year- what was there in the air in 2000? Yet this Dublin Player ignores other’s lavish challenge and presentation doggedly clinging to a deceptive-simple undecorated clarity of tone that is maintained with superb continuity from the opening ‘Black-haired lass’ to the final Patsy Touheys’. Stuttering tonguing is permitted with liquid tripletting on Seamus Connoly’s jig, showing he can do it if he has to, underlining that here is a collection that has been taught about, loved dearly and carefully disposed. Backing on bodhráns accompanying fiddle and Zoe Conway’s accompanying fiddle, match his metre, but gives ample space to relish Whelan’s grá for the distinctive, withdrawn aesthetic of Micho Russell style."

Fintant Vallely

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"STUNNINGLY simple and surprisingly captivating, traditional Irish music lovers could do a lot worse than to listen to Gavin Whelan’s self titled album. If following the ‘producted of your area motto, it would be almost impossible to distinguish were Gavin is from. As a 22- year old native of Tallaght, following his musical in sight tells a different story than the reality of his Dublin upbringing. Having taken up the tin-whistle at the age of 12,Gavins interest in traditional Irish traditional Irish music stemmed from his parents and the frequent trips they would bring him to Clare. And it is the slower, gentler side of like that shines through on the C.d., blending Gavin’s own impressive talent on the tin whistle with backing from a host of musicians on Fiddle, bodhran, guitar and bouzouki. From the opening track the Black-haired lass, Gavin asserts his credentials on the tin whistle and sets the tempo for mush of the album with a bright sprightly feel combanation of reels and jigs make up uch of the compilation, although the eerie sadness of A Hudaí Pheadair Eamainn hints a terrible loss. The striking poignancy of this track stands out from many of the others, despite being the slowest offering of the 15 tracks. The album is rounded if in much the same feel as that in which it began, with the medley of Michael Relihans, Gan Ainm and Patsy Touheys ending in a joy-ous, fast-paced reel. Accompanying artists play a prominent role throughout Gavin Whelan’s album, with Colm Murphy, Donnach Moynihan, Donnach Gough, Aogán Lunch and Zoe Conway among those providing the subtle yet apt support on all the tunes. The stall has been set for further down the road, and given his level of activity around the session scene, the name Gavin Whelan could become a well-worth name to check out."

Paul Kavanagh - Tallaght Echo

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"The Versatility of the simple tin whistle in the right hands (and mouth!) is proven by Irish whistle player Gavin Whelan on his self titled debut disc {Tallaght records (2001)}; Emphasizing sprightly jigs and reels, many of which he learned from fellow musicians in Dublin and Co Clare, and accompanied by fiddle, fretted things, and bodhran, Whelan not only shows an old master’s technical skill but also puts an inspiring energy and zest into his music.
His fast tunes are a delightful blur of notes; his slow airs an emotional exercise.
Whelan will surly get heard from the next generation of Irish traditionalists."

Dirty Linen

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"The tin whistles of Gavin Whelan bounce and frolic across the stereo speakers like sprites in the morning mist.

At the time of reviewing this album, I was interrupted. By a phone call from the south Dublin press and, after initial introductions the reporter on the other end asking “what’s that in the Background?
I explained that basically Traditional Irish tin whistle music and the voice on the other end of the phone said,’’ it sounds great. “What more can I say? If Dublin-born Gavin Whelan can effect on a hard-nosed reporter who’s seen and heard it all, then there is surly hope for the future of traditional music, whatever its origins.

Tin whistles in the hands of the unskilled are merle toys, much like harmonica, but when a gifted musician takes the humble whistle and blows into it, the tiny tube is transformed into something beautiful. The word ethereal spring comes to mind while listening to Whelan’s skilful fingers and lungs. Cloaking the finest and sweetest sounds from his E-flat and C whistles. Still in his early twenties, Gavin Whelan is further proof that traditional music is in no danger of wilting on the vine. Inspired."

Bryan Chalker - Traditional Music Maker.

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"This young Dubliner plays a mean clean whistle and has surrounded himself with the likes of Eoin O’Neil, (bouzouki) Donnacha Moynihan and Gavin Rolstan (Guitar), Colm Murphy and Donnacha Gough (Bodhran) for decidedly modern-sounding driving accompaniment—as well as the exellent fiddle player Zoë Conway, In his selection of tunes, Whelan achieves a nice balance between great traditional tunes covering the whole stylistic map and recent compositions by Paddy Fahey, Josephine Keegan, Tommy Peoples, and John Brady."

Rating *****

Sanachie Records.

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"Whelan is a young Dublin tin whistle master whose tremendous technique and solid good taste are well displayed on this solo debut. The arrangements, featuring some of Ireland’s best guitar, bouzouki and bodhrán players, are nicely understated and effective. This is my favourite whistle album since Mary Bergin’s landmark 1970’s LP. "

Don Meade - The Irish Voice, New York

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"Though the Tin Whistle is the first instrument of the majority of Irish traditional musicians, Its remarkable just how few outstanding examples of the whistler’s art have been recorded. Maybe there’s a stigma attached to an instrument associated with childhood or perhaps, realistically, most players just more players progress on to more complex instruments. Nevertheless, there are plenty of enthusiastic young whistle players around, such as Dubliner Gavin Whelan, eager to follow in the footsteps of Mary Bergin and Séan Ryan. The wizardry of Gavin’s debut album belies his age
(a mere 22) and the effortless ease of his duets with fiddle player Zoë Conway, on tunes such as ‘Brogans Ferry’, reveals a musician with a cast wealth of sessions under his belt. Whelan demonstrates his West coast influences through tunes learned from Donegal fiddlers, such as James Byrne, and Clare born whistle player Micho Russell. It’s a startling blend of virtuosity, sprit and sure good fun, and one of the most significant Irish releases of the year."

Songlines

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This is a hot one. Wonderful Traditional music packaged up real nice.
The production is an asset from start to finish. It was tasteful enough so to never allow to many studio tricks to creep in over the tunes, yet sounded very polished. The tune selection was a nice mix of old standards and uncommon that rarely get out.

I gravitate towards solo CD’s but sometimes I tire of one artist with only one of two accompanists. One of my favorite things about this CD is that the mix of musicians that play with Gavin. He has three guitar players, two bouzouki players, two bodhrán players, a mandolin, a fiddle and a concertina all contributing to the well founded sound of the recording. There is one solo slow air, with the balance of having one to five other musicians in one the fun. This mix of sound textures and densities adds to its longevity in my CD player, for sure.

Gavin is very skilled at playing god music, but nowhere during the recording did I feel that Gavin was trying to blind his listeners with unrestrained virtuosity. Gavin always had a nice swing going during the tunes, making the music genuine and more important than his skill. The result is a nice tune collection I can listen to often. One of the things I like about this recording is that Gavin plays a lot of tunes with settings, phrasings and syncopations that sound very traditional to me, yet are new and certainly expand my horizons. I think this recording will influence my playing in the future as it has a loyt of twists that are very original.

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Whelans Dublin

"Whelan’s was packed to the door last Wednesday to hear Gavin Whelan, a powerful musician from Tallaght, Gavin filled the place with the sweet music of the whistle. Accompanying the whistle were fiddle guitar and bodhrán. Its not often that I have heard a night of music like it.

Gavin Whelan was born in 1979 and was raised in Tallaght. He started to play the tin whistle when he was twelve years old. He was greatly influanced by musicians from Clare, and also his parents Dermot and Maire who instilled in him a love of music from an early age.

Listing to Gavin in stage you would be amazed at how much music he can extract from such a little instrument with six holes. He mostly used (Eb)
Whistle and played beautiful sweet music without ant effort, there were reels hornpipes and slow airs each one better than the one before, He gave lovely renditions of’’ Beann Dubh an Ghleanna’’ Mary Mc NaNamera’s and the Cliffs of Moher’’.

His accompanists contributed greatly to his Zoë Conway from Dundalk was on the fiddle and her music is something else, she brought forth well rounded rhythmic Melodic notes from the strings, Her rendering of the ’’Application’’ without Accompaniment was powerful. Shane McGowan on guitar and Neil Lyons on the bodhrán gave wonderful accompanying to the fiddle and whistle. Not only were they accompany they also performed two fine solos which brought the audience in Whelan’s to their feet.

Lots of tunes are on the album which was launched in April, were played. Among them other musicians it includes. Zoë Conway, Mick Broderick, Aogán Lynch from Slide and Colm Murphy from De Dannan, The Album is beautiful. May we soon have another night of music like it."

Bridín Nic Dhonncha - Fóinse Irish Paper

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This is the richest and most heartfelt tin whistle album to be released in a long, long time. It's an album that will sell but more importantly, will win many converts over to this, at times, maligned instrument.
His empathy with and deep understanding of the music oozes out of every note he plays.

Custy's Traditional Music Shop.

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Evoking images of bright sun filled days, Gavin Whelan's debut solo album simply titled 'Gavin Whelan' Lifts the pulse like a breath of fresh air. Fiery dance music and slow airs that ache poignantly played with skill; flare and panache constitute one of the finest debut albums from any young traditional Irish Musician.

Gavin Whelan's debut album is a celebration of his art showcasing him as a top class whistle player and exponent of Irish Traditional Music. Having learned his trade from the finest of the older players and infusing it with the vigor of youth, he has arrived at a unique personal style of whistle playing, 'Gavin Whelan' bristles with life and energy and signifies the arrival of a major new Irish Music talent.

John O'Regan - Folk Roots Magazine

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