Double You is the incredible debut album from Welsh Harpist Catrin Finch and Ireland’s fiddle virtuoso Aoife Ní Bhriain, releasing on 27th October on the bendigedig label.
Dublin native Aoife Ní Bhriain is one of her generation’s most versatile and gifted violinists, a dazzling musician who commands both the classical world and her Irish traditional heritage. From across the Irish Sea and the west coast of Wales, harpist Catrin Finch has also built an impressive classical career and ventured into unchartered musical territory, most notably through her international award-winning collaborations. Double You, their debut album as a duo, features an exquisite collection of new compositions that draw inspiration from various genres, taking listeners on a captivating journey on the wings of the bees across the Irish Sea and inspired by the cultures of their home countries.
The duo met in the depths of lockdown on the digital edition of Other Voices Aberteifi, the Welsh manifestation of the iconic Irish TV series and Other Voices Festival, which began in Dingle some twenty years ago. Catrin Finch, surely the most accomplished British harpist of her generation, was an obvious musical match for the polychromatic virtuosity of Ireland’s violinist Aoife Ní Bhriain, and the resulting album, Double You is the superb product of their “…. innate synergy…(and is) an ingenious blend of myriad influences,” – Miranda Heggie, The Arts Desk.
Both are incredible virtuosos of their respective instruments, who started young and trained hard with great dedication to achieve the highest world-class standards of their art. Both went through rigorous classical training and grounded their careers in the classical world. Given her family heritage, it was inevitable that Aoife would also become a master of the Irish tradition; and given her fearless and inquisitive nature, it was equally inevitable that Catrin would seek artistic satisfaction beyond the confines of the classical world. “Audiences just want to come away from a performance having been moved,” says Catrin. That becomes the key creative force, transcending the boundaries of genre.
Running through their stories – as individual creatives, remarkable women, and now as an inspirational duo – are universal themes of identity, self-belief and the courage to be who you really are, to find yourself, particularly when others expect you to conform. Theirs is a story of being brave enough to follow your own path. From fighting against cancer and embracing sexuality, to being courageous enough to express their full creative potential, both Catrin and Aoife have been forging their own paths of challenge and discovery.
Each track on the album begins with the letter ‘W’ – spoken as ‘Double You’ the tracks allude to the many striking parallels that bind Catrin and Aoife together, making one the double of the other and affording a deep musical affinity between the two. The ‘W’ also traces the pattern of the famous waggle dance that bees use to tell their fellow workers where nectar sources can be found, their lower bodies indicating the direction of the nectar relative to the sun. It’s a suitable metaphor for a search for new creative possibilities.
Here’s a sneak peak: