Irish Internet Radio and TV from Dublin, Ireland.
First, thanks to all for your many, many comments on last month’s column featuring the Best Artists of the Decade Awards. Great craic. Speaking of great craic, you are in the right place for all things St. Patrick! March! The high holy holiday! NO ONE in the world does St. Patrick’s like LiveIreland!! NO ONE!!!!
Now, on to some important, trad albums which might be easy to miss, maybe not. Let’s take a moment to repeat that there are a few GREAT resources for real Irish albums. Rampant Lion in Villa Park, Illinois, USA, Copperplate Distribution in London and Claddagh Music in Dublin, Ireland come to mind immediately. If you love the real deal, these resources are invaluable to you, as they feature the real, true Irish music, not this other crapola floundering in the market played by poseurs. Here are five of those real deals. REAL deals:
Is Rita Gallagher the best Irish singer in the world? We know a LOT of musicians and fans who answer yes to that question for this fabulous alto from Donegal. A hidden treasure, she and her new album, Easter Snow, were brought to our attention by one of the world’s best, Copperplate Distribution in London. Google Copperplate Distribution. You just landed in heaven without having to die first. This album is a masterpiece from a master singer. Do you want to hear the REAL Ireland? You’re in luck. Rita Gallagher will sing it to you. A sean nos classic from a gift of a voice. This is no nasal soprano child singing some nonsense passing as Irish. This is a real Irish woman singing wonderful music in a voice from God. Impeccable.
The hottest new group in Irish music is Outside Track. We need a lot more space than we have here. They are young, from Canada, America, Ireland and Scotland. The album is Curious Things Given Wings. Ailie even won an Award a couple years ago from us for a GORGEOUS air she wrote and performed on her solo debut album. Ailie Robertson is one of the new breed of harpists on the scene and she is wonderful. But, radio partner, Maryann Keifer and I are in love with Norah Rendell’s vocals and flute playing. Wait, we said we don’t have space, and we don’t. This is a new powerhouse on the scene. Over the years we have alerted you to many great new acts. None better than this. Find the album. Find them in concert at this year’s Irish Fest in Milwaukee. New. Trad. Fab. The whole wonderful waterfront in one terrific group. Stunning.
Happy To Meet and Sad To Part is the new album from master whistle player, Peter McAlinden from Ireland. The tin whistle can either be a lovely thing altogether, or a curse from God. Depends, like everything, on the player. When Copperplate and Alan O’Leary tell us someone is great our ears perk up. Again, he is right. This guy is a lovely, lovely whistle player with great taste and phrasing. A big selection of some of the great trad tunes here. You might just sort past another whistle album in your Irish music hunt. That would be a mistake with this album. Wow, can this guy play! Peter McAlinden is going to get a LOT of fans with this one. Count us as one of them! Mary Bergin, watch out!!
A Moment of Madness. We all have them. You need this one. The real aficionado well knows the name of Brendan Begley, he of button box international acclaim. Add Caoimhin O’Raghallaigh on fiddle and you have magic. Pure and simple. Great tunes and perfect playing. Need anything more? We’ve been playing a lot of it on the show, and we love every cut. These guys are terrific, terrific, terrific, but we repeat ourselves ourselves. Wait. Madness! Yes! Deeply knowledgeable and soulful players at their peaks. Perfection, and an early and serious contender for Instrumental Album of the Year. Madness never sounded so good.
Greentrax in Scotland sent us a masterpiece. Hector MacAndrew Legend of the Scots Fiddle. Never heard Scottish music played better. He passed in 1980, but thanks to Greentrax, we have this. This is where a company like Greentrax moves from being just another business to being an important part of cultural history. Scotland’s leading label has given us so many gems of real cultural significance, like Shona McMillan’s epochal, People and Songs of the Sea. And, here is Hector MacAndrew. Whatever you think of Scottish music, this will change your mind. Yes. If you love it, you will love it more. There are so many, many musicians who worship at the MacAndrews shrine, such as Manus McGuire, fiddler extraordinaire of the best instrumental assemblage in the world, The Brock McGuire Group. Artists like Hector MacAndrew truly, honest-to-god DO live forever. Here he is. The master. Still with us, albeit in a transformed state. Enough philosophical nonsense. On to the music. On to the best. On to MacAndrew!
Are you listening to the weekly radio show? Maryann Keifer and I are with you every Monday night from 8-9p.m. Chicago time on www.wdcb.org Chicago’s only program of all, real true trad Celtic music. Join us! We promise you will have a ball.
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