Wednesday, February 24, 2016
Dréos - The Clearing (2015 United States) 
uilleann pipes • flute
guitar • bouzouki • smallpipes • bodhrán
Dréos is an ensemble of performing composers who invent and arrange new and old music using a traditional vocabulary. The word “Dréos” comes from Scottish Gaelic, and translates into the English word “blaze.” The group was founded by Eliot Grasso (uilleann pipes & flute), Brandon Vance (fiddle & voice), and Glen Waddell (guitar & bouzouki).
Genesis: An instant, uncanny artistic chemistry was clear from the moment Eliot and Brandon first played together, years ago at a Friday Harbor festival in Washington State. This meeting would be remembered. For a time, they parted ways, their musical and academic careers propelling them along parallel tracks in different parts of the world. Brandon left the Pacific Northwest to study violin performance at the Cleveland Institute of Music, and Eliot headed off to pursue degrees in ethnomusicology and musicology at the University of Limerick and University of Oregon. Despite these divergent paths, Brandon and Eliot kept in contact, and in February 2014, they convened in Eugene, Oregon, with accompanist Glen Waddell to perform in Beall Hall at the University of Oregon. That musical reunion ignited a performing and recording venture, of which this album is a kind of firstfruit.
Eliot Grasso is known in Irish traditional music as an uilleann piper, flute-player, and composer. He is deeply interested in the art of melodic variation, and how this dynamic process has been transmitted from teacher to student in the Irish dance music tradition.
Brandon Vance is one of the foremost Scottish fiddlers in North America. He is a collector of old things – especially old tunes and the fashions of playing them. This penchant led him to the world of early music, where he found the intersection of the fiddle and violin – a sort of limbo where he comfortably resides.
A Canadian multi-instrumentalist, Glen Waddell has one younger brother who once punched him in the face the day before a cornet competition, leaving him with the misfortune of having a split lip and the choice to play or sit out. He played.
1. Strathspey & Reels: Devil in the Kitchen/Tie the Bonnet/The Sound of Mull
2. Jigs: The Empty Tomb*/Samuel’s Grand Entrance*/Old Cape Hatteras*
3. Waltz: The Clearing§
4. Waltz: Silver Trees*
5. Slip Jig & Jigs: Erin’s§/Caitlin’s Jig§/Brown Ale
6. Song: She Moved Through the Fair
7. Jigs: The Empty Bookcase*/The Lights of Limerick*/The Pepper Man*
8. Reels: Weaving to Friday Harbor*/Andrew Dewberry’s*/Ellie’s New Hat*
9. Air: Day Dawn
10. Air: Boundless*
11. Highland Strathspey, Strathspey, & Reel: Rebecca’s Highland Fling§/Winter Welcome§/Itchy Feet§
12. Marches: The Battle of Waterloo/O’Neill’s Cavalcade/Bonaparte Crossing the Alps
13. Strathspey & Reels: Islenska§/Flight of the Penguins§/Dancin’ Thro’ the Gates§
14. Reel: The Clumsy Lover
* = composed by Eliot Grasso
§ = composed by Brandon Vance