She has that lilt and lift that brings new life to old melodies, along with an understanding that allows for traditional interpretations of modern tunes, making then sound as if they’ve been around forever… Griffin has put together a wonderful album…It purrs with delight from the opening to the final notes.
Review of Three Colours Ginger, Jamie O Brien,
The Irish Edition
When Bronnie takes out her bow, you know she'll be playing with all the authenticity of the finest Irish fiddlers, [yet] the Old-Time undertones of her roots always come through.
Whimsically themed this new recording may be, but it is also seriously good. It could hardly be otherwise. Griffin cut her teeth on Old-Time tunes, at which she excelled from an early age, but she is no less a whiz on Irish fiddle.
"Three Colours Ginger"
Press / Reviews
Review in The Irish Edition
"Sometimes it strikes me as strange that I can get excited about music. I mean, I get to hear so much my wife often wonders how I can remember indiviual albums, musicians, tunes... 'Don't things roll into each other?', she has asked more than once. And being honest, I have to admit that it can and does occassionally happen.
But generally speaking, every musician has his or her own voice, his or her own approach and style; every song has it's meaning and it's origin; every album is unique - or at least, should be (maybe when they're not I find things fuse into a forgettable fuzzy distance).
She has that lilt and lift that brings new life to old melodies, along with an understanding that allows for traditional interpretations of modern tunes, making them sound as if they've been around forever. She creates the arrangements with producer Gerry O'Beirne who also provides inventive accompaniments on guitar and ukulele, an awesome pairing.
Now here's an album to illustrate what I mean. Fiddle-with-accompaniment albums are released pretty frequently in the world of Irish music. Brongaene Griffin's album falls into that category. She's an old timey / bluegrass fiddler from Portland, Oregon, who's been playing since childhood. As a teenager she took lessons from one of the masters, Kevin Burke, and has become an amazing exponent of Irish music.
Honestly speaking, instrumental albums can end up a little repetitive. But here, the tune selection, the high caliber playing and the quality of the recording, take away any chance of that. But more, the tremendous addition of Burke's poetry reading is a masterstroke. The man's speaking voice is as appealing as his fiddle playing - ah, if only all Londoner's talked like that (me included!).
Griffin has put together a wonderful album and as a cat lover myself, I appreaciate the feline theme in the title and the track selection. It purrs with delight from the opening to the final notes. I can see this CD staying near the stereo for a long, long time."
Jamie O'Brien - The Irish Edition
"Years ago I used to wander up the coast from LA to Portland to play music with Kevin Burke and Andy Irivine, and from there we would go on tour around the states. The music was sleek and jaunty and fun and the trio was never recorded, more’s the pity, though I produced an album for Kevin, Up Close, that among other things had the harmonica-playing Murphy family from Wexford with their celebrated reels, and I added some electric guitar and drum machine on one of those late night sessions. It’s a track I really love. You hear those tunes played a lot in trad sessions nowadays, but I always miss the electric guitar, though I might be the only one who does!
We used to hang out at a somewhat anarchic wine-lovers’ restaurant that proudly boasted the most brusque service in America, The Vat And Tonsure, now sadly closed forever it seems, and one of the friends we made at that time was Bronnie Griffin, a teenage fiddle student of Kevin’s who was already a good old-time and bluegrass fiddler but took to the Irish thing like a happy splashing duck to water and was immediately good enough to play with himself.
Now she has made an album and kindly asked me to produce and arrange the music. I think it’s really good and upbeat and fun, reminding me a lot of the times we had back then and full of Bronnie's generous spirit. I play along a fair bit too and Kevin doubles up some fiddle lines and harmonies on a few tunes, and then there are contributions from other good friends like Elizabeth Nicholson who provides airy dexterous harp. It’s very unusual too in that there’s a running theme of cats through all the titles (Bronnie is a big animal protection and rights supporter) and Kevin chips in by reciting The Owl And The Pussycat and some other cat poems in his inimitable growl. It’s worth checking out some of the tracks here. I think they are really pleasing."
Gerry O'Beirne -October 2010
"A sun-soaked illustration of a cat casting a long violin-shaped shadow adorns the cover of “Three Colours Ginger” by Oregon fiddler Brongaene (Bronnie) Griffin. Most of the sets of tunes on the CD bear a feline-derived title: “Black Cat,” “Calico,” “Copy Cat,” and “Tortoiseshelled Chesire.” Between the musical tracks, the superb Irish fiddler Kevin Burke recites such odes to kitties as “The Cat of Cats,” “The Cats of Kilkenny” and even “The Owl and the Pussycat,” delivered in a voice like honeyed whiskey.Whimsically themed this new recording may be, but it is also seriously good. It could hardly be otherwise.
Griffin cut her teeth on old-timey tunes, at which she excelled from an early age, but she is no less a whiz on Irish fiddle. She took instruction from Burke (which should say something), and he himself appears on two tracks. The master guitarist, singer and song-writer Gerry O’Beirne produced the CD, and he plays guitar and ukulele throughout.Some of the very best moments are those in which Griffin and O’Beirne play unaccompanied. (Check out track 3, ”In the Tap Room” and “The Foxhunter Reel;” track 5, a collection of slides, “Where’s the Cat,” “Behind the Bush in the Garden” and “The Cat Rambles to the Child’s Saucepan;” and the 10th track, “Margaret’s Waltz,” dedicated to Griffin’s sister.)Of course, there’s a lot to like about the sets in which Griffin has plenty of company.
And good company it is. Griffin is joined by some high-powered traditional talent of the Pacific Northwest, including harper Elizabeth Nicholson, fiddler Bob Soper, Jim Chapman on bouzouki, guitarist Nancy Conescu and Johnny B. Connolly on button accordion. (Burke also resides in Portland, which apparently is knee-deep in world-class traditional Irish musicians.)I was especially fond of Nicholson’s bell-like handiwork on the opening track, Colorpointe (“The Cat in the Fiddle Case” and “The Fisher’s Hornpipe);” the second track, a set of jigs including “The Orphan” and “The Stray Away Child;” and track 8, another set of jigs fitted onto the tail-end (so to speak) of Burke’s recitation of “The Cats of Kilkenny.” Connolly and Chapman contribute a good deal of color and depth on the tracks on which they appear.Which brings up a minor point. All of the musicians appear in more places than the credits would indicate. The best example of that little oversight is Griffin’s sixth track, O’Carolan’s “Planxty Hewlett,” a lush waltz that reminds me a little of “Ashokan Farewell,” and even Pachelbel's Canon in D. None of the accompanists is credited on this piece.
You’ll be impressed by the ensemble work as well. The performance of Griffin and company seems less like a recording session than the spontaneous collaboration of a group of good friends at a traditional Irish music session.And that might be the highest compliment you can pay to any recording of Irish traditional music."
Jeff Meade, www.irishphiladelphia.com
"Longtime Portland resident fiddler extraordinaire Brongaene (Bronnie) Griffin’s latest album “Three Colours Ginger” is a lesson in beauty. While listening, it wouldn’t take one long to catch onto the ”cat” theme. Certainly the cover art may lend a hint, but also like a cat, the 14 songs are beautiful, sleek, graceful and at times mysterious in their composition and origins.
Most of the tracks are traditional Irish tunes of various types, but there are splashes of original content and flavour tossed in for good measure. Bronnie has recruited a lot of world class local talent to back her up here, including Gerry O’Beirne (who produced) co-arranged with Bronnie and even performs on the CD. Kevin Burke, who lends his unmistakable voice to several cat-themed poems and joins in on fiddle. Also playing are Johnny B. Connolly, Elizabeth Nicholson, Bob Soper, Nancy Conescu and Jim Chapman.
There’s a lot to love here: dreamy, thought-provoking melodies as well as get-up out-your-chair foot stompin’ dance tunes. Even the jacket art and design are elegant and contains much info on the tracks as well as some beautiful quotes, poems and a touching dedication to Bronnie’s Sister, Margaret."