Jim McKillop
About Us
Floating Bowhand
Contact Us
This review of the "Floating Bowhand" Video, written by the editor Mr. Brian Healey of "Traditional Music Maker", a British based music magazine published by Magnet Publishing Ltd. 28 Grafton Terrace London NV5 4JJ appeared on Page 29 of its July/August 2003 issue. Below is a copy of the article, except for the exclusion of the first paragraph which deals with how music crosses national boundaries and enriches as it travels.

Jim McKillop. The Floating Bowhand

Having been sent a 105 minute video to review , I assumed I was in for another session of diddleydiddelydiddly so I stuck it into the machine to listen to a couple of tracks before I went to bed. WRONG. Nearly two hours later, I was still sitting on the sofa enthralled by the artistry of a truly great fiddle player who's playing sweeps his fellow musicians along, whether they are on stage, having a session in a Pub or street busking. I have watched the video all the way through twice since then and I am still enthralled.

Strangely enough, Jim McKillop didn't start playing the fiddle until he was 26, yet within 3-4 years he had won major competitions in Ireland and to boot was becoming known as a violin maker. However, no doubt the fact that his father played the banjo and still does into his eighties has influenced him. Today , more than 30 years later, Jim is recognised as a foremost fiddle player and teacher and as a violin maker he is rated by Odhran O Casaideas, lecturer at the Music Conservatory as probably the best violin maker Ireland has produced for the past 200 years.

But what about the video, you ask. Too often, music videos are a static view of a band in performance with poor sound quality and no direction. Not so this, it is a professional production of a show, a travelogue, a master class and an insight into the craft of fiddle making.

Imagine if you would the tranquil and picturesque scene of the Waterford estuary to the sound of CarrickFergus, a slow Irish Air with boats swinging at anchor and then being transported to the Garter Arts Centre, where much of the video is filmed although there are 11 different locations in all. Jim walks on stage, sits down with his friends and suddenly we are into Boil Them Cabbages Down--pure bluegrass, we're in for a Hoedown, Great! but no the next number is a tribute to Graham Townsend the Canadian fiddle player.

Jim is joined by the lovely Zoe Conway who keeps popping up with her fiddle throughout the video, to play a haunting tribute to the Canadian. A Pub session with Matt McGranaghan playing Maple Sugar, McDermott's Reel, Peter Street and The Hawk, among others is another highlight of this terrific video, which could do more for tourism than the Irish Tourist Board are probably aware of. Other musicians appearing in the video are; Dick Farrelly-Guitar, Gary O'Briain-Keyboard and Mandola, Gerry "Banjo" O'Connor-Banjo and Mandolin, James Blennerhassett-Double Bass, plus of course several of Jims fiddle students.

Martin McAllister plays Guitar in Jim's front room and Bobby Gardiner makes an appearance several times throughout the video playing melodeon. Jim himself plays melodeon as well as harmonica and he also sang in earlier days, though this video is all instrumental. This is a gathering of excellent musicians in different combinations producing some wonderful sounds.

There are 58 tracks on this tour de force of music which includes 5 of Jim's own compositions and embraces not just the Irish genre but haunting tunes from the Shetland Isles, Cape Breton and the best of Bluegrass, Tennessee Waltz and the Bob Wills Western Swing favourites, San Antonio Rose and Faded Love. I think Bob Wills must have been listening to the Maidens Prayer, another tune on the video, before he wrote Faded Love, which brings me back to the point I made earlier about the connection between Celtic and American music. This eclectic collection of the best from both worlds does much to reinforce my theory. Professionally produced and edited by Bill Fogarty and narrated by Brian Lambert. Quite Brilliant, I can't wait for McKillop 2.

Traditional Music Maker. Website: www.tradmusic.net
Email: tradmusic@btinternet.com
To return to the previous page, click Here