San Francisco, California, USA – Coinciding with the celebrations of St.
Patrick’s Day, the Rough Guide series has released the Rough Guide to Irish
Music, Dublin to Donegal: essential sessions & evolving traditions.
Music has always been an essential part of Irish culture, and the musical
traditions of Ireland – focused around pub sessions – remain amongst Europe’s
most enduring and vibrant. Songs (sung in Irish and English) hold a special
place in Irish life and exemplify the vivacity of the Irish singing tradition
and its wide range of subjects. This all-new second edition of The Rough Guide
To Irish Music provides an extensive introduction to Ireland’s musical
landscape, from the driving music of Donegal and the foot-stomping polkas and
slides of Kerry and Cork to the work of those exploring the borders between
traditional music and other genres. Compiled by Irish music specialist Geoff Wallis, this album is bursting with
reels, jigs, polkas, flings, fiddles and flutes. Over a twenty-year career,
Altan have achieved worldwide acclaim and the track featured here is a sneak preview
from their latest 2005 album,
Local Ground Irish-language songs she learnt as a child and
the county’s vibrant dance music.
From Strabane, Co. Tyrone,
Brady has been one of Ireland’s leading musical figures for the last forty
years. He learnt the piano as a child before moving onto the guitar and “Mary
and the Soldier” is from a live 1978 recording, The Missing Liberty Tapes.
Molloy is one of Ireland’s most traditional flute players and here he plays
the popular air ‘A Stor Mo Chroi’ in typically evocative fashion before heading
off into reel territory.
Dervish have remained true to their Sligo roots and reinforced their
importance on the Irish music scene with many notable albums. ‘An T-UII’ (‘The
Apple’) comes from the album
Midsummer’s Night, and the fruit serves as a metaphor for a
Frankie Gavin‘s fiddle is one of the most distinctive sounds in Irish music
and the man is also unreasonably talented on flute, whistle, accordion and
piano. From Corrandulla, Co. Galway, his renowned skills can be heard on
this album with reels derived from his solo album Fierce Traditional.
Cran, currently compiled of Scan Corcoran (vocals, bouzouki and guitar), Desi
Wilkinson (flute, whistles, Highland pipes and vocals) and Ronan Browne, have
been at the forefront of Irish music since they formed in the early 1990s.
Taimse ‘N Arrears’ tells the tale of an unrepentant wastrel whose wife locks him
Together, Paddy Keenan and Tommy O’Sullivan form a powerful musical partnership.
Paddy began learning the uillean pipes at the age of ten and the tunes here
reveal Paddy’s eclectic compositional skills.
‘The Walrus’ is taken from
Lúnasa‘s fifth album and their unique sound derives
from the interplay between Scan Smyth’s fiddle, Kevin Crawford’s flute and
Cillian Vallely’s uillean pipes, supported by the driving rhythm section of
Donogh Hennessy’s guitar and Trevor Hutchinson’s double bass. Composed of three
flute and whistle players and a guitar.
Lasairfhiona N1 Chonaola’s roots are embedded in the sean-nos singing tradition
of her native Inisheer, the smallest of the Aran Islands, and ‘Bean Phaidm/Paidm’s
Wife’ is taken from her astonishing debut album, An Raicin Alainn.
Also on this album, Maighread & Triona Ní Dhomhnaill sing a sad take of a man
who regrets enlisting in the army, with the legendary Donal Lunny.
Ciaran O Maonaigh learned the fiddle from his grandfather, and on ‘Loughisle
Castle’ he is joined by the Derry fiddler Dermot McLaughlin, who plays part of
the tune an octave lower, a technique known as ‘reversing’ in Donegal.
Also featured on this album are Dubliner and flute player Paul McGrattan and
Gerry O’Connor, one of Ireland’s most renowned banjo players. The
Rough Guide to Irish Music features a snapshot of the exceptional
and diverse talents on the thriving Irish music scene including North Cregg,
Mary McPartlan, Paul Moran & Fergal Scahill, Seamus Creagh & Aidan Coffey,
Seamus Begley & Jim Murray, The Prodigals, Helen Roche and Seamus Quinn & Gary
Author: Angel Romero
Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music music for many years. He founded the websites worldmusiccentral.org and musicasdelmundo.com. Angel produced several TV specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World.