Photos from Ennis Tradfest CD Launch

Myself and Lena had a great time in Ennis at the Ennis Tradfest, launching our CD “I Can Hear You Calling”…Ben Taylor who also took the photos on the CD cover (and designed it) came along and took some magical shots!! A huge thank you to Ben for the pix and to Siobhan Peoples and the Ennis Trad Fest team for having us and last but not least to Martin and Ivan for the great sound!


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Folkworld Review

“I Can Hear You Calling raises the hairs on my neck at times, that primal edge on the fiddle particularly.”…read on for Alex Monaghan‘s take on our new CD in the latest Folkworld Issue. Dankeschön Alex!
Lena Ullman & Anna Falkenau “I Can Hear You Calling”
Own Label, 2017
Oldtime banjo and fiddle from this duo: Lena and Anna are equally proficient in Irish traditional music, and there is a bit of Irish mixed in here, but I Can Hear You Calling is mainly new compositions in the oldtime style. Both write great tunes – Falkenau’s Apatchy Hunting in the Garden and Ullman’s Waiting for Anna are good examples. Ullman also had a hand in all four songs here, whether writing the whole thing or just the melody. Black Jack David is a version of The Raggle Taggle Gipsies, while Homeless is a new song by Ullman about one of the big issues in contemporary America and Ireland.
Both Ullman and Falkenau have adopted Ireland as their home after growing up in Sweden and Germany respectively. Ullman started on the five-string banjo in Sweden, but has been absorbing Irish music since the 1970s. Falkenau is a more recent convert, and also spent time in Connecticut with the backwoods players, so the shared experience of the duo spans Irish, oldtime and Germanic styles.
The sound this pair produce is quite old-fashioned, raw acoustic instruments with little post-production, just the two musicians with no backing track, and plenty of old modal cadences somewhere between major and minor on most tunes. I Can Hear You Calling raises the hairs on my neck at times, that primal edge on the fiddle particularly. The final Easter Lambs by Charlie Lennon is quite a contrast, a stately air with an almost baroque feel, Ullman’s banjo taking the role of a Vivaldi or Telemann mandolin as Falkenau switches to German or possibly Swedish smooth technique in the manner of a 19th century town fiddler. If fiddle and banjo is your thing, you should definitely give this CD a listen.
© Alex Monaghan

latest review

Delighted about this lovely review by Pete Mullineaux…

Review – I Can Hear You Calling – Lena Ullman & Anna Falkenau

On this wonderfully inventive new CD, Lena Ullman (banjo & vocals) and Anna Falkenau (fiddles) offer up a magical interpretation of Old-Timey and Irish Traditional, along with a number of compelling original compositions. The playing throughout manages to combine a wholly natural, yet meticulous attention to detail on the one hand with a playful freedom of expression on the other. Some songs and tunes appear in more unusual keys (Homeless, Black Jack David) and result in delightfully subtle nuances of tone and texture. Extending out from this inventive approach are such exotic flights of fancy as the gorgeous jazz tinged tune Fog, the evocative Stranger in the Garden and the incorporation of Anna’s accomplished South Indian fiddle playing on the magnificent Waiting for Anna, aided and abetted by some tricky sounding riffs too from the banjo. As a counterweight to all this joyful extravagance, other tracks begin with simple yet haunting melodic patterns (Blueberry /Snowdrop) which immediately anchor the music and pull you into a shared intimacy with the players. Then, as on several tracks, (Blueberry, Red Rocking Chair, Homeless, Black Jack David) Lena’s distinctively pure and poignant vocals are added into the mix. The overall result is a showcase for innovation and virtuoso playing. It will be hard to find a more energised fiddle-banjo combo than on Chilean Horseman or playing as exuberant as on Apatchy Hunting in the Garden. A richly fertile musical partnership tuned in to one another’s style of playing; and most certainly a case where left and right hands really do seem to know what the other is doing.

Pete Mullineaux – author of Session –poems inspired by Irish Traditional Music, Salmon Poetry.

lovely days in France

Back in Galway after a lovely couple of days / gigs in Hossegor near Biarritz. Great company, lovely tunes and some very tasty food :- Inis Oirr next this weekend for a launch gig wit Lena Ullman! Venue Aras Eanna, Doors 8pm…















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