The amazing accordionist David Munnelly
Calling David Munnelly a box player is – like calling Muhammad Ali a boxer – true but reductive. Of course, as someone who grew up playing traditional music, he plays Irish dance tunes in the style of a box player, and he plays them with a flare and level of mastery you’d expect from someone as talented and dedicated to the music as he is. However, from a young age, driven by an innate musical curiosity and rapidly acquired fluency, Munnelly began pushing his chosen instrument further than most to discover what more it could do, what more it could help him to say. So, more accurately, Munnelly plays the accordion in its fullest international sense. He has absorbed how the instrument is played in many different cultures by many different players, and he has developed his very own way of handling all those influences in his playing, particularly in his almost baroque bass note self-accompaniment. His sound is unmistakably him, but with a deep respect for many other masters coming through, from John J Kimmel to Máirtín O Connor to Riccardo Tesi. Paul O Connor
Main collaborations Munnelly Trio and Accordion Samourai
The Trio, 3’oh, was formed with Joseph McNulty and Shane McGowan by David Munnelly thanks to the suggestion of a very good friend who loved the idea that the individual styles of the three musicians unite to give a natural sound. David and Joseph come from Mayo and Shane from Sligo, which inspired the trio to reverence the ancient recordings of these regions, but also to integrate new compositions. The meeting of these three could be a suggestion, but we can say that it was not a coincidence. The trio welcomes the singer Anne Brennan for the Ven_ture project by creating a unique sound mixing an old and unconventional register. Samouraï. The fabulous talent-studded program includes no less than five of the most dazzling exponents of the squeezebox. They have all made a huge contribution to advancing the cause of the diatonic accordion, each in their own sphere: trad, folk, liscio, Irish music, jazz, film scores – the list goes on and on. In common with the characters pervading the imaginary universe of the Japanese, these players have succeeded in combining a variety of styles to create a bold and expressive musical experience. Ingeniously melodic, brilliantly tonal, an invitation to savor an intimate atmosphere or relish a session of wild dancing: these musicians with an impressive list of credentials offer us a spectacular and extremely beguiling event.
The Album Aonair
The title of the CD which means ‘alone’ or ‘solitary’, is a collection of new compositions by accordionist David Munnelly that were created and recorded over two days December 2017. As the title suggests, the CD contains ten solo pieces in which David shows his astonishing creativity on this diatonic instrument. The origin of this project is also special as during the Christmas period of 2017 it was recorded in two days in the hall of De Parel van Zuilen, Utrecht where David lives. Sounds, such as an espresso machine for the song ‘Corazon’. (the name of the coffee brand) air sounds and bellows ripples off the instrument are added to give a percussive backing. Malgosia Fiebig, the carrillonist of the famous Utrecht Cathedral, was so surprised by the pieces that she played one of the themes on the carrillon, which then ended up on this CD. David’s background is traditional Irish music, but by experimenting with new sounds and musical styles for years, he has laid the foundation for his own original sound. Only the fact that he brings these tunes to life with one instrument, makes this a CD that is completely original.