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CANCELED: Music from an Elliptical Orbit: Tunes, Tuning, and the Gravitational Pull?

Caomhim Ó Raghallaigh, musician

March 26, 2020 · 4:30 pm6:00 pm · Chancellor Green

Humanities Council; Department of Music

Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh (pronounced KWEE-veen oh-RYE-uh-luh) is one of he leading Irish fiddlers of his generation. He is well known for his traditional fiddling through his award-winning records with uilleann piper Mick O’Brien, his style of playing deeply informed by years of study of old recordings of fiddlers from the sliabh luachra region in southwest Ireland. He is the Edward T. Cone ’39 *42 Short-Term Visiting Fellow in the Humanities Council and the Department of Music.

But Ó Raghallaigh has refused to allow his profile as a “traditional” musician to define him, and he has for many years now lived in the “region where traditional music begins to disintegrate.” This can be heard clearly on his solo albums Where the One-Eyed Man is King and Music for an Elliptical Orbit, both of which exhibit a keen ear for texture and a strong sense of clarity and openness, and neither would fit in the “traditional” bin at the Princeton Record Exchange or on Spotify. His duo records with Garth Knox (founding violist of the renowned Arditti Quartet) and our own Dan Trueman (Professor of Music at Princeton) go yet further, exploring vanishingly quiet sonorities, “tunes” that fragment and gather in unexpected ways, improvisation and unconventional song forms.

In recent years Ó Raghallaigh has achieved further renown through his ensembles This Is How We Fly and The Gloaming (which also includes former long-term visiting fellow and current Global Scholar Iarla Ó Lionáird); these groups have performed on many of the most renowned venues across the world, including Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, the Sydney Opera House, Union Chapel (London), Royal Albert Hall, and others, and they range widely from traditional music to improvisational, experimental music, owing their range in large part to Caoimhín’s abilities and vision, his commitment to going deeply traditional, while also working beyond its edges.

In this talk, Ó Raghallaigh will explore some of his most rewarding collaborations, digging a little into the process of creating new music with diverse people, sharing some new recordings, and examining how his relationship with tunes and tuning has evolved over time.

Ó Raghallaigh will join Professor Dan Trueman in a free concert on Sunday, March 29 at 3PM in a program featuring music from their latest album: the Fate of Bones.


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