The Incident (Compass Records, 2009)
One of the hottest bands in Irish folk music has released its latest recording, The Incident (Compass Records 4499), in North America. Beoga, based in County Antrim, breaks the conventional profile of Irish Celtic bands. True, they still play Irish slides, jigs and reels, but the innovative jazz, contemporary instrumental and bluesy arrangements and musical selections are quite unexpected.
Beoga’s musicians are influenced by traditional Irish music as well as African-American soul, gospel and blues and other world sounds. The format of the band is also unusual. The five-piece band includes the twin dueling accordions of Sean Og Graham and Damian McKee, four-time All-Ireland bodhran champion Eamon Murray, pianist Liam Bradley, and one of Ireland’s finest young singers, Niamh Dunne. Beoga describes itself as a "trad band on anabolic steroids."
The musicians are keeping the title of the album as a mystery. "We are willing to disclose that the so-called ‘incident’ did occur on the road in 2008…perhaps I’ve said too much," says bodhran player Eamon Murray with a wink. The Incident features lots of good humor in the song titles and liner notes, with traditional and new compositions based on Irish folk music as well as material from other parts of the globe: Sister Rosetta Tharpe’s Gospel song "Strange Things" and the Jewish polka piece "The Flying Golf Club".
Beoga’s The Incident is a bold and highly creative approach to Irish folk music.
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