The Great Southern Ocean
Laura Flanagan, fiddle
Peter Daffy, guitar & Luke Plumb, bouzouki
A dynamic collection of traditional Irish tunes on fiddle accompanied by bouzouki and guitar, this album was made with gratitude to mentors and friends who have graciously shared and passed on their love of the music.
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At the end of a holiday in July 2018, I found myself stranded in Melbourne for an additional six weeks. At loose ends, limited in what I could do, and knowing I don’t sit still well, I sent a request to my friend Peter Daffy for advice on ways I could spend my time. He responded by offering to create the opportunity for me to record this solo fiddle album. Not long after that, Luke Plumb found time during one of his whirlwind trips to Melbourne to schedule a day to record me. Twenty-four days after having surgery, I laid down the first tracks of this album.
However, before my trip to Melbourne, I’d fallen into a bit of a musical rut and almost completely stopped playing. In fact, my reason for traveling in the first place had been an attempt to reawaken and rediscover my connection with why I fell in love with playing music. My additional time in Australia turned out to be a gift, and this album is simply an expression of appreciation for that time, what it awakened in me, and the lessons learned there.
I’ve been exceedingly fortunate (or unfortunate, depending on who you ask!) to be “raised by bouzouki players” in Irish traditional music. However, somehow I’ve managed to avoid acquiring a guitar or a bouzouki myself! Even though I can’t explain to you what they’re doing, I have a great love and appreciation for it, and have never considered it “just accompaniment.” Therefore, I believe a few words about my friends joining me on this album are appropriate:
Peter Daffy is one of the finest guitar makers in Victoria, Australia, where he is also very much sought out as a performer in many different genres. He applies his loving attention to detail in everything he does and is one of the most incredible singers I’ve ever had the good fortune to hear live. I first met Peter in Taos, New Mexico in September of 2017, performing with Luke Plumb, and his guitar playing immediately captured my attention. Additionally, Peter is a long-time music educator and leads a successful community music group in his hometown.
All musicians have moments when they see or hear a performance which becomes a pivotal point for their own music making. Seeing Luke Plumb at ZoukFest in Abiquiu, New Mexico in 2005 was one such for me. That performance, and subsequent conversations with Luke, continue to transform the way I think about music. Luke is highly successful internationally as a performer, composer, producer and teacher. His collaborations include the Scottish band Shooglenifty, the Irish singer and bouzouki great Andy Irvine, a longstanding musical partnership with Peter Daffy, as well as groups under his own name.
I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to work with both Luke and Peter. I have learned so much from them.