Home » Jazz Articles » Album Review » John Walsh: Irlandalucía


John Walsh: Irlandalucía


Sign in to view read count
John Walsh: Irlandalucía
Flamenco music might not be the first thing that one would associate with Ireland, but John Walsh hopes to change that mindset. A classically trained Irish guitarist, he is quickly making a place for himself among the major flamenco artists. Irlandalucía is said to be the first flamenco album to be released by an Irish musician, and here Walsh proves his mastery of the genre.

Walsh studied classical guitar at Trinity Conservatoire in London, where he earned a degree in 2006. Rather than continuing with classical guitar, he followed his passion by concentrating solely on flamenco guitar. He began his studies in Dublin with guitarist Francisco Garcia. He later traveled to Spain where he studied with flamenco masters such as Jose Manuel Leon and Salvador Andrades. He has since been honored with numerous awards and has established himself as the foremost flamenco guitarist in Ireland.

The album's title sets the tone for what's in store. Irlandalucía is a portmanteau of the Spanish word for Ireland and Andalucía, birthplace of flamenco and home of guitarist Paco de Lucia, one of Walsh's major influences. This blending encapsulates Walsh's own experience. He takes pride in his Irish background, but he also has a passion for Spanish music and culture.

Walsh composed all of the tracks, and the album features a variety of flamenco styles. Walsh's flawless technique and precision would make anyone take notice. This is the type of playing that only comes from years of practice and dedication to the craft. As Walsh mentions in the liner notes, "I can only say that flamenco captured me. I never sought it out."

Although he found a musical home in Spain, Walsh's compositions maintain hints of his native culture. This is perhaps most evident in the title track, which features a melodic Spanish zapateado blended with slight hints of Irish melodic sensitivity. With the support of percussionist Gines Pozas along with Dani Bonilla and Jorge Pérez on palmas, "Irlandalucía" is a beautiful meeting of cultures. Along similar lines, the composition "Dos Rios," featuring percussionist Ruven Ruppik, offers a melodic soleá that is undeniably Spanish. Certain progressions and changes, however, create an almost subliminal Irish essence to the music. At times, the percussion seems slightly reminiscent of the Irish bodhrán.

Some compositions, however, present more of a stylistic blending. "Reflejo y Sombra," "Cassiopeia," and "La Añoranza," for example, present a somewhat gentle and reflective foundation supporting Walsh's passionate intensity, creating a satisfying mix of contrasting emotions.

Irlandalucía is an exceptional debut album. Not only does Walsh showcase his talents as a composer, he also demonstrates his ability as a musician. John Walsh is a master of his craft, and this is evidenced on every track on the album.

Track Listing

Irlandalucía; Reflejo y Sombra; Arco y Limonero; Dos Rios; La Añoranza; Cassiopeia; Fuente Nueva.


John Walsh
Additional Instrumentation

Gines Pozas: percussion (1); Ruven Ruppik: percussion (3-5); Pepe Rodriguez: percussion (7); Dani Bonilla: palmas (1, 3- 4, 6-7); Jorge Pérez: palmas (1, 3-4, (6-7).

Album information

Title: Irlandalucía | Year Released: 2021 | Record Label: Air Music Group


For the Love of Jazz
Get the Jazz Near You newsletter All About Jazz has been a pillar of jazz since 1995, championing it as an art form and, more importantly, supporting the musicians who create it. Our enduring commitment has made "AAJ" one of the most culturally important websites of its kind, read by hundreds of thousands of fans, musicians and industry figures every month.

You Can Help
To expand our coverage even further and develop new means to foster jazz discovery and connectivity we need your help. You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky ads plus provide access to future articles for a full year. This winning combination will vastly improve your AAJ experience and allow us to vigorously build on the pioneering work we first started in 1995. So enjoy an ad-free AAJ experience and help us remain a positive beacon for jazz by making a donation today.



Blue Topaz
Peter Hand
Midnight Rose
Paul Rodgers
Open Me: A Higher Consciousness of Sound and...
Kahil El'Zabar's Ethnic Heritage Ensemble
Modern Art Trio
Franco D'Andrea, Franco Tonani, Bruno Tommaso.


Get more of a good thing!

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories, our special offers, and upcoming jazz events near you.