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New Irish and Related Music Releases November 2000
(Some really exciting goodies this month)

PURE PIPING. Leo Rickard. CCF33CD. Unusually in these days, this is an album of totally unaccompanied uilleann piping, the idea being that the pipes are fully capable of accompanying themselves. Leo Rickard is from the fishing community of Howth, County Dublin, and he plays the full range of jigs, reels, hornpipes and pieces. Excellent music.

THE ROAD FROM CONNEMARA. Joe Heaney. CICD 143. Long awaited double CD of Heaney, recorded by Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger when he was in his prime. Great selection of beautiful songs in Irish and English, most of them unavailable on any other recording of this great traditional singer. Essential listening.

MACMAHON FROM CLARE. Tony MacMahon. MACCD 001. This is only the second album in his own name from the great Clare accordionist. Not strictly solo, in that he is joined by friends Barney McKenna, Joe Cooley, Seamus Connolly and others. It’s a retrospective look at a great career. Watch out for a particularly memorable couple of reels with James Kelly.

NAVVY ON THE ROAD. Danny Meehan. Danny Meehan, from Mountcharles in Donegal, has long been a legend in London’s Irish music circles. He learned to play the fiddle as a boy, and emigrated at a young age. Since then he has worked in the construction industry, but has continued to play Donegal music. In the 1970s he played with the great band Le Cheile. This is his first solo recording, accompanied by guitar. On it he plays many rare tunes, only found in Donegal, together with tunes from the stock repertoire.

THE WILD MUSIC OF THE GAEL. Na Dorsa. This is a new group - I saw them last night and they were great. They are Desy Adams (flute), Martin Quinn (accordion), Tiarnan O Duinnchin (pipes), Paul Meehan (guitar, bouzouki), Paul Bradley (fiddle, viola) and Margaret Cunningham (vocals). They’re serious, they’re going to stick together, and they’ll be the next big thing.

THE HOUR BEFORE DAWN. Solas. SHCD 78041. The fourth album from the Irish-American group, this one features traditional and recently composed music.

COMPENDIUM. Patrick Street. GLCD 1207. Compilation album that calls itself ‘The Best of Patrick Street’ – and it really is a strong selection. Worth investigating.

0ISÍN MAC DIARMADA, BRIAN FITZGERALD, MÍCHEÁL Ó RUANAIGH. CICD 144. Great music, really well played, on fiddle, banjo and harp.

INISHKEERAGH. Brenda McCann. BMCD 02. Excellent fiddle music from a young Fermanagh player. From Irvinestown, Brenda is from the same part of Ireland as the great Pride of Erin Céilí Band, an area where there were great fiddlers. She learned from Sean Nugent, father of Laurence, and it shows in her playing.

THE FIDDLE MUSIC OF DONEGAL volume three. Various. CNF 003. Another collection from the people who bring you the Glencolmcille fiddle school. The featured musicians this time are Dermot McLaughlin, John Byrne of Glencolmcille, Matthew McGranaghan from Castlefin, and Jimmy and Peter Campbell from Glenties. It’s consistent with the great standard set by the two previous volumes.

THE FIRST OF MY RAMBLES. Roisin White. VT126CD. Previously only available on cassette, this is great, spirited northern singing (unaccompanied) by the County Down singer. Also, it’s an album where all the songs are great songs.

SONGDOGS. Calico. BHMCD21. Second album from the Cork group - more newly composed tunes, with a couple of songs this time.

THE BEST OF FRANCES BLACK. Frances Black. TORCD 1121. Seventeen tracks from the ever-popular Dublin singer.

BEHIND THE MIST. Various Artists. CONCD 001. The Conamara Environmental Group Education Centre is an award-winning venture, and many of the events held there are accompanied by music. This album is a sample of the music that has been played there over the years, and comes from Davy Spillane, Liz and Yvonne Kane, Sean Tyrrell, Josephine Marsh, Mary Staunton, Conor Keane, Sharon Shannon, Tola Custy and others.


THE TIN WHISTLE BOOK. Tom Maguire. OSSCD 36. Two tutor CDs to go along with the books of the same titles. These have previously been available on cassette only.

YELLA HOOSE. John McCusker. COMD 2083. Middle-of-the-road easy listening from a Scottish/Irish multi-instrumentalist.

WHAT CHILD IS THIS? Paul Redmond. No number. Christmas hymns’n’things from an Irish tenor with all profits donated to the Camp Hill Community, Ballybay

And finally, a book. ONE VOICE – MY LIFE IN SONG by Christy Moore is the ideal Christmas present for somebody who is interested in the ferment of Irish music in the last thirty years. And if they were around and involved in it, it’s even better. Full of interesting photographs, with a song on every page, it’s an account of Christy’s life and times. If you’re of a certain age, it’s an account of your life and times, for Christy Moore is very involved in the art of living.

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