Telenn Tri are Christine Morphett, harp and fiddle and Peter Franche, piano accordion, guitar, bouzouki, bass guitar. This duo combines its wealth of various musical backgrounds and influences, to provide the basis for an exploration of Celtic music. Both traditional and contemporary tunes are interwoven with original compositions.
CD review by Tony Smith
With the collaboration of partner Peter Franche, Adelaide harpist, Christine Morphett, provides a feast of plucked strings on this album.
Franche adds piano accordion, guitars, bass guitars and bouzouki while Gavin O’Loghlen contributes percussion.
O’Loghlen also recorded, mixed, mastered and co-produced the album.
DeArne Cavaiuolo designed the tasteful CD Cover.
Telenn means harp in the Breton language which, along with Irish, Scots and Welsh, are the main Gaelic tongues.
The musical idiom speaks all these dialects.
The tracks are organised into a dozen ‘sets’ of tunes which fit neatly together.
Many tunes are labelled as traditional and arranged by Christine Morphett for the harp.
The sets are:
‘Cup of Tea/ Ships are Sailing’ then ‘Whelans/ Humors of Ballymaunes’ (all traditional).
‘Waiting for Maeve’ is written by Morphett and dedicated to Maeve Gilchrist.
This is a bright tune with an interesting key/ mode change.
‘Lost and Found/ Jig for Dowd’s/ Dowd’s Favourite’ is a traditional set but Morphett wrote the middle tune to fit, and it does – very well.
‘Knocknagow/ the Cat that Kittled in Jamie’s Wig’ (traditional but Morphett really swings these tunes which sound very jazz-like with strong bass) then ‘Sunday Birds (Morphett wrote evocatively of local birds) / Old Copperplate’ (traditional)
‘The Rock on the Clyde/ Monaghan’. Bobby McLeod wrote the first/ traditional.
‘Boys of Ballisodare/ Frank Thornton’s/ Glass of Beer’ (traditional).
‘Macquarie Street’ is a Morphett composition.
The harp is nicely balanced with accordion in this piece.
‘Breton/ pedon war pont e naoned’ – these traditional Bretagne tunes add welcome variety.
There are two tunes by Brendan Ring: ‘Tyrell’s Pass and Lisnagun’.
‘Collaboration’ in the middle of this set was written by Morphett and Franche – in collaboration of course!
Morphett dedicated ‘By Strangford Water’ by Janet Harbison to her mother and gives a wistful rendition.
As far as the tunes are concerned, all the choices are appropriate for harp.
It is easy to envisage dancers enjoying many of these sets of jigs, reels and polkas.
The couple of Morphett originals are outstanding.
The arrangements are excellent in that the supporting instruments allow the harp to shine and never threaten to overwhelm it.
Other harpists seem to be the most likely audience for an album so densely packed with harp music, so it seems a shame that the sleeve notes do not describe the instruments in detail.
Morphett plays pedal and lever harps and often the traditional tunes sound as though she is playing the smaller, brighter Celtic harp.
Keen harpists will also be curious about the instrument makers.
In the final analysis however, this album provides a feast of fine listening.