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New Irish and Related Music Releases December 2000

2 WORLDS UNITED. Pierre Schryer, Dermot Byrne. CCF34CD. Pierre Schryer is a champion fiddler from Ontario, Canada, and Dermot Byrne is an accordion player from Buncrana, Ireland. Dermot plays with the famous band, Altan. They made this record at the suggestion of guitarist and producer Steve Cooney, and it’s a perfect example of musical empathy. Among other musicians partaking are Altan’s Ciaran Curran, Steve Cooney and Frank Kilkelly. The music is Irish, French-Canadian, Scottish and Cape Breton, with a few original pieces. There’s no nicer combination than a fiddle and accordion, and in the hands of two such masters the music positively sparkles.

LÁMH AR LÁMH (MANY HANDS). Various artists. MMH 01. A double CD to raise money for cancer research in the Mater Hospital – sounds like a good idea. It’s much more than just a double CD, however – it has original tracks from people such as Seán Keane, Liam O’Flynn, Arty McGlynn, Pádraic Mac Mathúna, The Ó Raghallaigh Family, Noel Hill, Brian McGrath, Patsy Hanley, John Carty, Dermie Diamond and others. The second CD was recorded at a house dance in the house of Antóin Mac Gabhann, with super session musicians and dancers, some great singing (note particularly the singing of 15-year-old Nollaig Ní Laoire, a truly mature and delightfully musical singer) and beautiful lilting. Everyone should own a copy – it’s a beautiful demonstration of just how thriving the traditional music scene is in Ireland.

HARMONICA. Mick Kinsella. OBM 301. Mick is the most skilful harmonica player in Ireland, and is among the great players of the world. Combined with an extremely refined musical mind, he has a command of his instrument such as very few people possess. His first album contains a couple of traditional Irish pieces, some jazz, some of his own pieces, a bit of blues and even some Balkan music. This one will be remembered for a long time.

YEH, THAT’S ALL IT IS. John Carty. SHCD 78034. John Carty made a great banjo album a few years ago. He followed that with a great fiddle album, and he could make a very fine flute album if he wanted to. On this one he has returned to the fiddle, but also plays tenor guitar. He is joined by Arty McGlynn on guitar and Brian McGrath on keyboards and banjo. Great music!

THE GREAT CEILI BANDS. Volume 1. Various. CL 55. Compiled and remastered by Ted McGraw, this is a selection of tracks from such historic bands as The Ballinakill Traditional Players, The Aughrim Slopes Ceili Band, The Moate, The Kincora and The Belhavel Trio.

KEEPER OF THE FLAME. Luka Bloom. COGCD 215. An album of cover versions of Dylan, U2, Joni Mitchell, Abba and others. This one is only going to be released in Ireland.

A DAY WITHOUT RAIN. Enya. 85738 59862 5. Atmospheric album from the Donegal singer.

WITH EVERY BREATH. John Wynne. UPROS CD 001. John is the flute player with Providence, and is also well known in session circles and as an adjudicator. This debut album is a good presentation of his style and repertoire – reels, jigs, airs, hornpipes. A listening pleasure.

CYNARA. Anuna. DANU 012. More folksongs and medieval ditties from the well-known Dublin choir.

JOINED UP WRITING. Mickey MacConnell. SCD 1045. Mickey is the composer of ‘Only Our Rivers Run Free’ and this is his second collection. It contains witty and sensitive songs about life and love and growing old - and the hilarious ‘The Man who Drank the Farm’.

BIG GUNS AND HAIRY DRUMS. Tim Lyons and Fintan Vallely. WHIN 002. Tim and Fintan are each excellent songwriters, though both are better known as singers and musicians. This is a selection of their own material, comic and satirical songs on matters such as bodhrans, murder, the weather and Moving Statues. Great fun.


THE BOOK OF INVASIONS. Horslips. EDCD 667. Remastered re-issues of two 1970s albums by a very popular folk-rock band.

LIVE FM IN CONCERT. Field Marshal Montgomery Band. MGBCD 4001. The Field Marshals are multiple World Champions and this is their performance at the Motherwell concert, held before the Championships each year. This is a great chance to hear one of the most stirring musical sounds – a great pipe band in full flight, and well recorded

AR IMEALL AN CHUAIN. Conall Ó Gallchoir. A selection of traditional songs sung by a fine singer from Rann na Feirsde.

GRIAN AN FHOMHAIR. Aine Bean Mhaitiu. CICD 145. Aine Ni Fhlaithbheartaigh is from Ros a’ Mhil in Connemara. She moved to County Kildare as a young woman, but continued to sing in her native tradition, reinforcing it with weekly visits back home. Here she sings twelve of her songs.

STRINGS AND THINGS. Niall O Callanain. IRE 9802. A record of totally original music with bouzoukis, mandolins, etc. as the main melody instruments. Niall is joined by Maire Breatnach, Mario Ngoma, Mairtin O’Connor and Kevin Shields.

BOSCA BIDEACH. Micheal Darby O Fatharta. No number. Micheal is a young melodeon player from Inverin in Connemara. Here he plays a selection of dance tunes in a sedate, almost stately fashion. Enjoyable.

EIST ARIS. Various artists. TORTV 1123CD. The second in a series of albums featuring singers performing in the Irish language. It features Altan, John Spillans, Tríona & Maighread Ni Dhomhnaill, Dolores Keane, Seamus Begley and others. Watch out for Paul Brady’s great performance of ‘The Lakes of Pontchartrain’ as translated by Proinsias O Maonaigh.

KORONG. Kornog. GLCD 1209. Nearly 20 years ago, Kornog came together – some Breton musicians and Scottish singer. The melodic backbone was Christian Lemaitre on fiddle and Jean-Michel Veillon on flute. In 1987 they broke up, but now they have come together again and produced this fine album.

THE GREEN MOUNTAIN. Pat O’Connor. CMCD 002. This is the second album on the Clare label, Clachan, and is a selection of fiddle music played by Pat O’Connor, with Quentin Cooper. On some of the tracks they are joined by Josephine Marsh.

SEAN MAGUIRE FINEST. Sean Maguire. EMCD 8000. A new album by the Belfast maestro.




Three collections of generally very good folk and traditional music.

NAVVY ON THE SHORE. Danny Meehan. BOW HAND 001CD. Danny is a legendary Donegal fiddler who went away to London as a young man. His only recordings were with the London band Le Cheile. Many people have tried to get him into a studio over the years, but this is his first solo recording.

BEHIND THE MIST. Various artists. CONCD 001. A selection of music played at concerts in Connemara by musicians such as Tola Custy, The Sharon Shannon Band, The Kane Sisters, Mary Staunton and others.

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