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Bagpipes of the World ~ Sean Folsom

On the cover: Sean Folsom with a huge Italian Zampogna

Review from "Iris na bPiobairi - The Piper's Review" Vol. XVIII No. 2, Spring 1999

Published by the Irish Pipers' Club, P.O.Box 31183, Seattle, Washington 98103-1183 USA

Bagpipes of the World ~ Sean Folsom
Thirty Kinds of Old World Bagpipes

[Reviewed] By Kevin Rietman

Quite a title - can you name more than 5 kinds of bagpipes? Have no fear about quality of the music either, everything you'll hear in grand tune, no shrieking notes of wobbling drones or unintentionally bizarre scales. I seriously doubt anyone else in the world, but Sean Folsom, could record such an album.

The two tracks of Irish pipes (you thought he missed out on those?) are quite lovely, lots of very in tune regulators and charming, zippy reel playing; quite joyous music. The flat pipes are played in a duet with his wife Sharon on harp, an air and O'Carolan tune, reminiscent of old records of the McNulty family more than anybody; one of the nicest moments here. There are a few other guest musicians featured as well, playing shawms, drums, hurdy-gurdy, and so on, but mostly this is solo piping from Sean. No matter what instrument is being played, the monstrous Gran Zampogna or the teeny to Musette de Ceour, the music is sure to win your favor, whether plaintive, lyrical, refined, or sharply exotic in nature. I'm not a capable enough judge to tell you whether he could win the Silver Chanter at Oban or whatever, but who cares? Buy this record at once. It is tops, and get a spare copy for your library too!

The only thing the record can't quite convey is Sean's persona, which is a sort of good cheer blast furnace, guaranteed to raise a smile and so forth. By all means if you're in the San Francisco area for a tionol or Lark Camp, you should try to catch his act. Or book it!

This is the first review of the album to see print; more will be following soon - O.S.

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