Music

Flook

Flook have returned to the Irish Cultural Centre countless times over the past 29 years of their existence – indeed it was the scene of one of their very first ever gigs and their first gig back after the pandemic. They are delighted to be back again this year!

Still holding fast to their reputation as major musical innovators, Flook have an enviable trademark sound; the whistles and flutes of Brian Finnegan and Sarah Allen, the guitar of Ed Boyd and the bodhran of John Joe Kelly weave and spin traditionally rooted tunes over precise acoustic grooves, with a rare blend of fiery technical brilliance, delicate ensemble interaction and a bold, adventurous musical imagination. There is no shortage of virtuosity amongst the members of Flook, but the unique impact of this iconic Anglo-Irish band stems from the wholly intuitive, almost symbiotic, exchange between the various flutes, frets and skins.

A frontline of 3 flutes & whistles isn’t the kind of thing to guarantee success, even in the folk field, but that’s what Flook opted to do when they formed in 1995. Brian Finnegan, Sarah Allen, Michael McGoldrick & Ed Boyd had joined forces for a short run of shows but such was the positive reaction to their sound, they decided to carry on. The line-up was preserved on their 1996 album, Flook! Live! (“the ultimate modern flute album.” The Irish Times) – a daring first move for an unknown quantity & an indication that Flook absolutely refused to play it by the book. It quickly became all change as McGoldrick moved on. The masterstroke in replacing him was to bring in another Mancunian, John Joe Kelly, a virtuoso on bodhrán, who added a completely different dimension to the sound. Over the next 3 years, the foursome refined their sound, with a dual frontline of Finnegan’s whistle & Allen’s alto flute & accordion, while Boyd & Kelly took on something far more important than a mere supporting rhythmic role. In 1999 they released Flatfish (“quite simply one of the most stunning contemporary Celtic albums you’ll hear this or any other year” Songlines), a mix of original & traditional compositions that covers the spectrum of instrumental music in a thoroughly thrilling fashion. Rubai followed in 2002 (“an extraordinarily good record” fRoots). They gigged all over the world & in 2005 Havenappeared, a further refinement & expansion of the twin-flute sound that was uniquely theirs (“in the pantheon of Irish/English folk groups they don’t come much more revered than Flook” The Irish Post)Flook took a break from 2008. From 2013 there were some live shows, but it wasn’t until 2019 that Ancora arrived, along with renewed touring, dubbed by The Irish Times “a luminous reunion“, while fRoots magazine said: “class is indeed permanent.”

Sat 08 June 2024

Doors 7.30pm, Starts 8.00pm

Tickets: £22/£20

‘An absolute powerhouse, a flute and whistle-led, eight-legged jig machine. Jigs, reels and waltzes whirl by. Each as glorious as the last, the musicianship as extraordinary, the mood never any less than euphoric’ FATEA Live Review, November 2023

‘Nothing short of transcendent… No other band sound like Flook and the new material has pushed them to new, exhilarating heights’ Songlines

‘Flook’s role and influence in the exploding excellence of instrumental folk music of various persuasions on these islands shouldn’t be underestimated… as vital as ever … Class is indeed permanent’ fRoots 2019

‘Virtuoso playing abounds … the most creative bodhran player on the planet … superb technique plus a genuine feel and some stonking tunes is a powerful recipe’ MOJO

‘Iconic, ground-breaking, progressive and all-round brilliant’ BBC Radio Ulster

‘Tour de force return after decade and a half – a luminous reunion ****’ The Irish Times

‘Four brilliant musicians. Four times as much brilliant music’ Time Out

‘Sheer musical magic…Stunning technique, impossibly agile rhythm work and virtuoso flights of jazzy improvisation add up to one of the most enthralling sounds around’ The Scotsman

‘Multi-layered, rhythmically sophisticated and meltingly beautiful’ Glasgow Sunday Herald

‘In the pantheon of Irish/English folk groups they don’t come much more revered than Flook’ Irish Post

‘Never have I seen so many people so completely and utterly spellbound…the most magical of experiences’ The Irish Post

‘In the US, their reputation borders on the Messianic …’ Irish Music Magazine

‘Head and shoulders above the rest… Magnificent’ The Irish Times

‘A sensational live act…. in the front rank of the innovators’ The Rough Guide to Irish Music

‘You need a cold shower to fully wake up to the phenomenal potential of this music’ Irish Music Magazine

‘Coolness with fire, tightness with space, delicacy with toughness…a uniquely thrilling whole *****’ Glasgow Sunday Herald

‘They looked for all the world like four people – until they started playing when they became as tight as one while producing a sound as rich as ten’ The Shetland Times

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