RJ Lannan, writer and independent review for Zone Music Reporter, posted a new review of the film on TradConnect. Read it here!
“It is not often that one of my favorite genres of music comes with pictures, but in this case, Ilse de Ziah & Maarten Roos have provided just that in their remarkable documentary film, Living the Tradition, an enchanting journey into old Irish airs. Ilse de Ziah is a popular cellist, composer, and performer living in County Cork, Ireland. Maarten Roos is a well-known documentary filmmaker. In concert, their talents have produced a ninety-six minute documentary about the pursuit of traditional Irish music. Ilse travels the length and breadth of Ireland to meet up with homegrown talent and kindred spirits that keep the traditions alive and Maarten provides a vivid cinematographic chronology.
Maarten Roos is obviously a detail-oriented cinematographer. He captures the fine expressions of every performance and adds the brightness of the day in which every character becomes a saint. He also films the nuances that make the performance memorable; the grain of the wood on the curve of a harp, the waves of the sea grass and the waves on the sea, and most of all, the stones. The rocky ruins, the wavering walls, and the crosses that make the graveyards sacred.
I would swim over the deepest ocean, the deepest ocean for my love to find,
But the sea is wide and I can’t swim over, neither have I wings to fly.
If I could find me a handsome boatman to ferry me over to my love and die.”
Filming the performance of the ever-popular tune, Down by the Salley Gardens, Roos captures a rippling pool, turning the performance into a mirrored Monet. Ilse’s rendition is a bit spirited, but she does bring to life all that is hidden within the words of W.B. Yeats’ poem. The song offers the whisper of willow trees and the hope of a newfound love.
The tune Amhrán na Leabhar or Song of the Books became a quick favorite. The tune was a lament over lost objects more precious than gold, but the setting of the graveyard in which Ilse played the tune was quietly beautiful. The Celtic crosses stood like silent monuments as her cello paid homage to life gone by.
Disc 2: Irish Airs for Solo Cello & Performances by other Musicians are vignettes of all the songs brought to life in singular performances. It opens with Cape Clear featuring gorgeous visuals of the rising sun and Ilse playing her cello as a warm morning breeze flows through her hair.
Living the Tradition, an enchanting journey into old Irish airs
DVD 2 Disc Set
Ilse de Ziah & Lightcurve FilmsThe Search for Musical History