Wild Winds is the critically acclaimed debut album from the London-based traditional/folk quartet Artisan Row, recorded, mixed and mastered by quadruple Grammy-nominated producer and musician, James McMillan.
Celebrating the timeless melodic beauty and strength of traditional Irish music and more, Artisan Row brings together four well-known figures from London's traditional Irish and folk music scenes: Conor Doherty (guitars, vocals), Elma McElligott (sax, flute, low whistle, backing vocals), Pete Quinn (piano, keyboard, backing vocals) and Karen Ryan (banjo, mandola, fiddle, low whistle).
Both as solo performers and members of other groups, the quartet’s collective musical CVs include performances at Cambridge Folk Festival, Glastonbury Festival, The Roundhouse, Temple Bar TradFest, Ronnie Scott’s, the Barbican and the Royal Albert Hall, as well as radio (BBC Radio 3’s In Tune, RTE’s Today with Sean O'Rourke) and TV (TG4’s Féilte, Geantrai and Hup!).
Exploring the full range of traditional tunes and songs, from effervescent reels to emigration ballads, the quartet uses its rich textural palette – including the pairing of McElligott’s sax and Ryan’s banjo, which they were inspired to dust off after a memorable weekend of music in Alsace with Shaskeen – to set the material in striking and ear-catching ways while always respecting the primacy of the melody.
Although they only performed together for the first time in this combination in 2012, at the Ennis Trad Festival – launching Ryan’s acclaimed solo CD The Coast Road (Cló Iar-Chonnacht, CICD188) which features both Quinn and Doherty – the musical friendships that underpin Wild Winds have deep roots.
The husband and wife pairing of Quinn and Ryan performed together for 15 years in The London Lasses, recording four albums in the process. Ryan and McElligott perform together in the current incarnation of the Lasses, while the musical relationship between Quinn and Doherty stretches back to their first meeting as postgrad students at Goldsmiths, University of London, in the late 1990s. The musical ties in the band go back further still, to the mid-1990s, when Doherty and McElligott both studied music at University College Cork (albeit a year apart) under the tutelage of Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin.
“A fascinating and eminently listenable mix...this is contemporary music with a cosmopolitan flair.” The Irish Echo
“An eclectic feast...Wild Winds is a fine first album from a fresh new force on the London Irish scene.” Irish Music Magazine
"Chock full of cracking music...an album which delivers on so many levels." Bright Young Folk
"A sophisticated blend of traditional Irish music with a contemporary twist that transcends musical boundaries." FolkWorld
"Adventurous and sophisticated music-making." Fatea Magazine
"The sum total, both aurally and idealistically, is of something fresh and new." The Living Tradition
"Highly accomplished...intelligence and sophistication abounds." fRoots
"Strong playing and singing...romantic and heart-warming music." Songlines