Kevin Cullen on Affinití
Pulitzer Prizewinning journalist for The Boston Globe blown away by Irish Trio
Listening to Affinití for the first time is like reading Dublinersfor the first time. It's like taking the DART to Dalkey, climbing Killiney Hill and looking south toward Bray Head for the first time. It's like standing on the black basalt columns on the Giant's Causeway, or walking the coral beach in Carraroe, or listening, for the first time, to a farmer play a tin whistle in Gus O'Connor's in Doolin. Ireland has always been reimagined by strong women, a mythical Kathleen ni Houlihan, a literary Pegeen Mike, a presidential Mary McAleese. And then, at Steinert Hall, a small, intimate venue in Boston, I heard, for the first time, Aisling Ennis plucking her harp, Mary McCague swaying with her violin, and Emer Barry singing with the angels, and I knew this was the essence of Irish art, a classical and Celtic crossover, informed as much by the Chieftains as Chopin, as indebted to Mary Coughlan as to Mary Black and Mary J. Blige, full of soul and sass and sophistication as well as exquisite technique. A trio of Irish girls as comfortable in the pub as the conservatory, as conversant in Beethoven as Bono. Find them. Listen to them. Relish them.