Deep-rooted and thriving, Irish folk is among the most vibrant music traditions in Europe. Featuring a whirlwind of fiddles, flutes and accordions, this Rough Guide is jam-packed with an infectious blend of Ireland's greatest twenty-first-century music.
Vibrant Musical Traditions
Sharon Shannon (accordion) and Frankie Gavin (fiddle and flute) are two of Ireland's most famous traditional musicians and on this album they perform with Michael McGoldrick and Kerry guitarist Jim Murray. The talented quartet teamed up for the album Tunes, from which the track here is taken. The foursome Patrick Street have been at the forefront of the Irish trad scene for almost twenty-five years and the song featured here, 'The Rich Irish Lady', was originally released by Peggy Seeger in the 1950s. One of the most innovative and provocative voices in Irish traditional and folk music, Karan Casey was a founder member of the influential band Solas and a key member of Paul Winter's Grammy award-winning Celtic Solstice. The song here is from her 2008 solo album Ships In The Forest, which can be explored further on the bonus CD.
Seamie O'Dowd is a remarkable multi-instrumentalist and singer. He first made a name for himself with the band Dervish and the song here is taken from his only solo album, 2006's Headful Of Echoes. Both éamon Doorley (fiddle, bouzouki, mandola) and Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh (vocals, flute, whistle) were members of the highly successful band Danú. On this album they link up with singer Julie Fowlis (2008 BBC Radio 2 Folk Singer of the Year) and her Scottish-compatriot guitarist Ross Martin on the beautiful 'Beauty Deas An Oileáin'. Cara Dillon's captivating vocals are featured on the love song, 'Jimmy Mó Mhíle Stór', which is from her latest album Hill Of Thieves. In the 1990s she was part of the band Equation with Kate Rusby and the well-known Lakeman brothers.
Based in south Tipperary, Rattle The Boards isn't so much a gigging band as an occasional venture into mutual musical pleasure with mates. Accordionist Benny McCarthy (of Danú) is central to the venture and the song here, taken from the 2008 album The Parish Platform is a well-known comedic ditty. Voted Young Musician of the Year by the Irish-language TV channel TG4 in 2008, Martin Tourish plays the piano accordion and the track here comes from his debut album, Clan Rannald, recorded in 2005 with the Co. Cavan-born bouzouki player Luke Ward. Seán Tyrrell is one of Ireland's finest song interpreters and 'The Rising Of The Moon', a Republican ballad oft associated with The Clancy Brothers, is given new life here thanks to his vibrant baritone and Davy Spillane's atmospheric whistle.