Hanz Araki with Dan Faiella at the historic Whiteside Theatre
With a three-decades long career, a well-established base, and lifetime in the Pacific Northwest, singer and traditional Irish flute player, Hanz Araki made the cross-country move to the New England city of Portland, Maine in 2016. The move eastward may seem counter-intuitive after a full career, but it became clear to Hanz as he heads into his next thirty years of music, that access to Ireland would become increasingly important. His new recording At Our Next Meeting represents this closeness, all the while reflecting Arakis rich musical past.
The West Kerry town of Dingle, the birthplace of Arakis maternal relations and locale of producer Donogh Hennessys studio, is a home-away-from home for Araki. The transformative effect of Kerry, and the love Hanz has for the place, can be heard in every note of the album. Guests artists Niamh Varian-Barry (violin, viola), Laura Kerr (fiddle), Méabh Ní Bheaglaoich (accordion) all call Dingle home, with Dublin-based Trevor Hutchinson providing bass, and Portland-based Colleen Raney on backing vocals.
After self-producing ten albums, Araki reached out to Donogh Hennessy to produce At Our Next Meeting. Hennessy, formerly of Lunasa seemed like the right choice among the many friends and colleagues encountered over the years, being a skilled and experienced recording engineer and superlative guitar player. The creative collaboration between Hennessy and Araki keeps this album of largely traditional music from only looking backwards.
The songs and tunes collected for At Our Next Meeting are all informed by some part of Hanzs life both as a musician and before. Contemporary folk choices like Song for the Asking by Paul Simon show Arakis long-standing love of Simon & Garfunkels harmonies, and represent his earliest inspirations as a musician. The inclusion of David Franceys Saints and Sinners is also deeply personal, being a favourite of long-time friend and musical partner Finn MacGinty who passed away in 2018. Polkas The Gullane, The Harvest Fair, and Miss Mulvahill were collected from accordion players Johnny B. Connolly, Junior Stevens, and Méabh Ní Bheaglaoich, all dear friends and colleagues with whom Hanz has been privileged to play.
The circular nature of a career in music will always include highs and lows, exhaustion and renewal. For Hanz the selections on this album honor the relationships built over three decades as well as reflect the formidable sense of renewal that his time in West Kerry has given him. At Our Next Meeting is an invitation to let the past meet the future both musically, and personally.
The Whiteside Theatre (View)
361 SW Madison Avenue
Corvallis, OR 97333
|Kid Friendly: Yes!|
|Dog Friendly: No|
|Wheelchair Accessible: Yes!|