Ceol FM were delighted to attend the launch of a new album from Tad Sargent and Loïc Bléjean on Saturday 27th May in Queens hotel in Ennis. Our thanks for providing us with this new music for the Ceol FM player.
In hindsight, it was almost inevitable that Loïc Bléjean and Tad Sargent should record an album together – both are superb musicians, Loïc with the uilleann pipes and low whistles, Tad on the bodhrán and bouzouki and they share the same musical passions for the Irish tradition, for innovation, for style and flair and for ‘getting it right’.
They met formally, if you like, at a session in Flynn’s Bar in Ealing, west London, in late 2013 and immediately hit it off. Loïc called Tad a few months later, as he was keen on putting a duo together for the festival he runs in his beloved Brittany. There followed stays and rehearsals at Tad’s fabled flat in Barnes, then gigs in France and England, all leading to the two of them opening the show for “The Taming of the Shrew”, the widely and wildly acclaimed 2016 production at Shakespeare’s Globe in London.
And meanwhile, they were making this album…. Recorded at Sylvain Barou’s studio in Brittany, it has Sylvain himself guesting on flute, Jean-Baptist Boclé on keyboards and Ben Somers on double bass and backing vocals, each one highly regarded in his own right. Well, class attracts class!
The album has nine tracks, six sets of tunes in what has become their trademark manner – percussive, driven, with a complexity of rhythm from Tad underscoring the precision and beauty of Loïc’s melodic lines. There is sensitivity too; it is not all fire and fervour and when the tune merits a light and gentle touch, that it receives! Tad adds three songs, “Missing You” (J. MacCarthy), “Dunnes Stores Girl” (J. Spillane) and “Beeswing” (R. Thompson), each with a fitting new arrangement and delivered with his fine vocals.
It will be launched at this year’s ‘Return to Camden’ Festival, which runs from 25th to 31st October 2016, the premier Irish music festival in London. Rather appropriate, since London is where it began.