One Two…And Some More Please: Jenna Moynihan & Màiri Chaimbeul Soar on New Record

There is something I find enchanting in how two instruments can intertwine with one another and create something so much larger than the sum of their parts. The Celtic and Scottish traditions that bleed into the work of Jenna Moynihan and Màiri Chaimbeul is obvious, but there is certainly something more embedded in their playing. 

One Two, the new record from the duo, kicks off strong with buoyant fiddle strings that playfully dance with the harp. And I cannot stress enough how the two instruments do indeed seem to dance with one another. There is tension and beauty and jubilee that build and flow from each and every note on this record. The first three tracks really set that tone. Its when the fourth track rolls around that the tone shifts slightly.

“Mo Rùn Geal Og (My Fair Young Love)” takes on a greyed morning hue. Somber and drifting with its head down. The emotion pouring from the sound holes of Moynihan’s instrument and the quick, yet delicate, pluck of each note quivering off of Chaimbeul’s fingers create a vast landscape of space and feeling that evokes sadness, dreary skies but also hope and light that peeks through the clouds. Its pretty damn affecting.

The music here may be instrumental, but these aren’t the type of music that belongs pumped through a speaker system at some old pub, this is music that is to be felt and taken into your heart. The expertise of both the players here is quite crystal clear, but its the sentiment and feel they are able to inject into their music that is the most palpable. Without the use of words, when its a sad song they manage to make you feel sad, when its a song of delight and elation, you feel joy and a warmth overcome you. That is something of pure magic.


photo credit: Louise Bichan