Paul Muldoon is one of the great Irish poets to emerge from the once benighted north, his name easily belonging to a pantheon that includes Seamus Heaney, Derek Mahon, John Hewitt, Michael Longley, Ciaran Carson, Medbh McGuckian and the least known of this stellar list, Martin Mooney. Christine Tobin, one of the great contemporary jazz singers, has set Muldoon’s work to music on her beautiful new Trail Belle album Pelt.

It is not an exaggeration at all to say that Muldoon is a Heaney for us all globally today, Tobin, a humane protest singer caught in the fraught channel where words and music flow freely. The Muldoon style is different though to the master Heaney’s, more surreal, more attuned to popular rock and pop culture, he is less of a classicist and more of a satirist, a Flann O’Brien in sensibility, a Dylan in execution using the language of elaborate formal metatextual often anthropological dreaming if not sharing quite the same sense of modernist mischief as the author of At Swim-Two-Birds

From near the Moy, Muldoon has long been a fan and friend of singer Christine Tobin, extracts from Pelt are above. Her guitarist partner Phil Robson is on the album as is pianist Liam Noble among the personnel. 

Like Muldoon (who has a high profile academic career running in tandem with his acclaimed work) Christine now lives in the States and was last heard interpreting the Leonard Cohen songbook. Her Yeats-themed Sailing To Byzantium of recent years was even better. And in her empathy with poetry and poets Eva Salzman is also a favourite of the once Margate and London-based Dubliner, something that manifests itself in different contexts in her early Babel label period.

updated 17.03.18. Corrected and with a new link added.