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All Irish music, all the time
April 22, 2009 4:28 PM   Subscribe

During a vacation in Ireland this past February, I bought an album of music by Shaun Davey, called "Beal Tuinne". I hadn't heard a single cut (but you can!), but a gent at the CD table at the Seamus Begley concert said it was the best Irish music CD in a decade.

Others have said the same - and, in my opinion, they are right! The album is poetry by the late Caoimhín Ó Cinnéide (from the Dingle peninsula) set to music by the incomparable Shaun Davey.
After this album I got curious about him, and found out that he's done a ton of work that I recognized - the soundtrack to Ballykissangel and Waking Ned Devine, among others.
Also the song "Ripples in the Rock Pools" from his Granuile suite.
So I share this with you - and encourage you to give Beal Tuinne a listen - if you love excellent traditional Irish music, you'll love this.
Oh, and Seamus Begley's new CD "Eiri go la" is wonderful if you can find it! I picked up a copy at his concert in Killarney.
posted by dbmcd (33 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
What's your opinion on Riverdance? I hear it's AWESOME!!!!
posted by mudpuppie at 4:37 PM on April 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


Um, mudpuppie - did you listen to any of the music linked above? If so, well different tastes, I suppose - including snark (I hear it goes well with whine).
posted by dbmcd at 4:40 PM on April 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


Snark is best served with a bitter, heady beer, the darker the better.
posted by filthy light thief at 4:43 PM on April 22, 2009


You're right, I could have said what I actually meant: "This might have been an interesting post if it weren't so personal-bloggy, but the first person/'here's what I did on my summer vacation' tone was so off-putting that I'm not going to spend time listening to the links and instead am composing this snarky response." That would have been more honest.

Can I have my wine now?
posted by mudpuppie at 4:44 PM on April 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


This might have been an interesting post if...it weren't so personal-bloggy, but the first person/'here's what I did on my summer vacation' tone was so off-putting that I'm not going to spend time listening to the links and instead am composing this snarky response. I weren't such a judgmental dick

FTFY
posted by ornate insect at 4:54 PM on April 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


I've always had a somewhat contentious relationship with these sorts of Irish groups. On one hand these are all eminently talented musicians, and they're playing very complex, engaging, and historically rich music. On the other hand, many of these groups seem stuck in that 1980s adult easy listening reverb-soup-and-fretless-electric-bass sort of production style, which I loathe.

There's nothing I like better than sitting down with a skilled fiddler of flutist and banging out a few reels, but so many of these folks' CDs feature rainsticks that it's prevented me from buying an Irish trad CD for the last five years or so.
posted by The White Hat at 4:57 PM on April 22, 2009 [5 favorites]


...I'm confused. I was trying to give context, instead of being all mysterious ("I recently came across this CD). Also, I thought that comments about post quality were suppose to go to Meta - shall we?
I really just wanted to share some lovely music. If you don't think it's lovely, fine. We can talk about that - but music is personal, hence the tone. (now I'm whining! it must be contagious)
posted by dbmcd at 4:59 PM on April 22, 2009


I've got to say, I'm with mudpuppie on this one. The music may be wonderful, but the livejournally tone of the post doesn't particularly invite clickery.
posted by dersins at 5:02 PM on April 22, 2009


The White Hat - I think the lack of what you describe is what I like most about the Beal Tuinne album. There's fiddle, guitar, voice, harmonium, concertina, and accordian - and that's it. Recorded live in an old church - and all in Irish. Really not easy listening - especially when you read the lyrics (or the translations, as I have to do!). But I feel you - I generally loath the "Celtic Mysticism" sort of stuff that seems to clog the shops.
posted by dbmcd at 5:02 PM on April 22, 2009


I don't know from Irish music, but I love me some Cheap Trick. Here's one of my favorites by them:

The Metafilter police live outside my head
The Metafilter police they come to talk in this thread
The Metafilter police are comin' to snark at me oh nooooooo!

posted by Joey Michaels at 5:06 PM on April 22, 2009


What a synthesiser laden car crash of an FPP.

I think a stiff dose of Luke Kelly would cure whatever mania led you to posting this. Still, I'm glad the guy who did the soundtrack to Ballykissangel has filled the Irelandish shaped hole in your soul.
posted by fire&wings at 5:30 PM on April 22, 2009


I'm a big fan of The Brendan Voyage, written by Shaun Davy - orchestra, pipes and a rock rhythm section. Much better than that brief description suggests. One track, The Storm, rocks out completely and confirms my theory that the uillean pipes can be as good a lead instrument as the electric guitar when amplified enough.

The White Hat is right though. Too many of these groups do sound horribly like Level 42 with traditional instruments superimposed. It's as though possession of a Yamaha DX9 is a requirement to get a recording contract.
posted by thatwhichfalls at 5:50 PM on April 22, 2009


Thanks, dbmcd. After reading the reviews, I'm curious to hear it.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 6:07 PM on April 22, 2009


Wordy, sentimental and likely drunk—you sure made your prose match your content.
posted by klangklangston at 6:10 PM on April 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


Thanks to all for your useful criticism of my crap FPP. I also appreciate the scholarly and learned music criticism; clearly I am not up to the lofty standards herein.
That is all.
posted by dbmcd at 6:16 PM on April 22, 2009


clearly I am not up to the lofty standards herein.

oh please. The post content is fine, it's just that this is not a personal blog. Editorializing and personal tales are frowned upon in the posts, yet perfectly acceptable in the comments. If you want to get all touchy feely in your posts head over to MetaChat where that is fine. Here the posts are supposed to be about the links, not your personal reaction to them. That is all.
posted by caddis at 6:49 PM on April 22, 2009


Based on past experience, I'm not a huge Sean Davey fan, but that was pretty nice. I wish they had chosen to share a track with a bit more variation - there are a lot of unused instruments sitting around.

I'm with you on the "All Irish music..." part. Here's some more Seamus Begley.
posted by sneebler at 6:53 PM on April 22, 2009


like it. or not. cut the freshman english teacher critiques.
posted by Postroad at 6:54 PM on April 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


if you love excellent traditional Irish music, you'll love this

Not me, I'm afraid. My tastes run more to this.
posted by mr vino at 7:02 PM on April 22, 2009


Pesonally, I liked the post and the music.

I also subscribe to that old cliche, that if you don't have something nice or constructive to say, then shut up.

Guess it just goes to show that even assholes can pay their $5.
posted by Mephisto at 7:35 PM on April 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


Thanks for the post. I love Irish music and I am always on the lookout to find more, especially the more traditional stuff. I don't think I would have found out about these groups any other way. I thought your post was worded fine, the humanizing element made me more interested if anything, and I'm glad that you decided to share. Don't let the negativity get to you.
posted by wander at 8:57 PM on April 22, 2009


I thought that comments about post quality were suppose to go to Meta

Pretty much! What the hell people? Poor form.

To keep this from being meta meta, I'll say that to me celtic music as a whole has a tendency toward the maudlin and the precious. Yet somehow, a lot of it still gets me. When it's done right, it's just so damn feelingful - even when you know it's being ridiculous!

And you take something like the Pogues or the Chieftans at their best, where it's got all that but still somehow raw and energetic and real, and - damn fine music. Not sure about this yet - that first video seems right on the borderline for me, but I appreciate the pointer and I'm checking out other songs too. It's also reminded me how much I do love the stuff when it's done well, so thanks!
posted by freebird at 10:05 PM on April 22, 2009


Guess it just goes to show that even assholes can pay their $5.

Guess they're just trying to Seamus.

/ba-dom psssshh
posted by flapjax at midnite at 1:48 AM on April 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Good post, not so good form. It's his first FPP, so let's cut him a break. My first and only FPP got removed because the blog I linked to blatantly ripped APOD and I hadn't noticed. Thems the break here at MeFi, it's a tough crowd but it's what makes the place so good.
posted by Vindaloo at 8:12 AM on April 23, 2009


I'm with White Hat and Freebird, I prefer the somewhat raw, rough, visceral Irish trad to the more smoothed-out, heavily-produced stuff. I must say, although this particular stuff is not my cup of tea, it does have a following. One of the traditional singers I interviewed for my dissertation referred to such music as 'tourist' music; created and marketed directly to tourists visiting the island, because that's the kind of thing tourists expect and demand. Fifty years ago, it was Irish dance bands playing covers of pop songs. Thirty years ago, it was the rough-and-tumble sound of Christy Moore, the Dubliners and countless drunken renditions of "Whiskey in the Jar". Now, it's the trad-instruments-laced-with-synth sound of Enya, Clannad and early Corrs.

All that being said, Shaun Davey is a well-regarded composer of orchestral Irish music. Do yourself a favour and pick up "The Brendan Voyage" and "Granuaile", probably two of his most famous orchestral works. "The Relief of Derry" is much more symphonic, but also well worth picking up. Also, check out Maire Breathnach, a fiddler and lecturer at University of Limerick, has done some song-cycle type of work, most notably "The Voyage of Bran" and "Coinnle na nAingeal" (Angels' Candles).

I'm not sure I'd agree with the assertion that this is the best Irish music CD in a decade; there's lots coming out of Ireland right now that I personally would place above this. However, my opinion and a dollar fifty will get you a cup of coffee.
posted by LN at 8:18 AM on April 23, 2009


there's lots coming out of Ireland right now that I personally would place above this.

Would you mind listing a few?
posted by small_ruminant at 9:15 AM on April 23, 2009


On my current wishlist:

Liz Carrol and John Doyle - "In Play" and "Double Play"
Patsy Reid - "Bridging the Gap"
Cara Dillon - "Hill of Thieves"
Brigid Tunney - "Hand in Hand: Singing from the Tunney Tradition"

Also high on my list of Irish trad performers from the past decade (who are still performing and releasing albums): Dervish, Danu, Kila, Laoise Kelly, Boys in the Lough, Solas.

And in my personal favourites list (not necessarily international stars, but favourites of mine): La Lugh, Niamh Parsons, Phil Callery, Tim Dennehy, Cran.

YMMV, of course!
posted by LN at 10:46 AM on April 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


Also high on my list of Irish trad performers from the past decade (who are still performing and releasing albums): Dervish, Danu, Kila, Laoise Kelly, Boys in the Lough, Solas.

I can't agree more with the Dervish recommendation. Great stuff, understated production, and a voice lovely enough to win over the Enya and Claddagh fans without having to stoop to the New Age leprechaun approach.
posted by infinitywaltz at 11:56 AM on April 23, 2009


Seconding the Solas recommendation, as well.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:56 PM on April 23, 2009


dbmcd I appreciate the post, though not the music so much. Like LN, my taste leans towards the less smoothed and produced. However, I really appreciate the discussion, as it get LN to post some names I hadn't heard before.
posted by herda05 at 4:06 PM on April 23, 2009


nthing the Solas recommendation. Also Altan: Mairead ni Mhaonaigh's voice is a delight. (And if you don't know Irish Gaelic, you'll be astounded at how 'Mhaonaigh' is pronounced.)
posted by semblance at 8:07 PM on April 23, 2009


Semblance: yes, thank you! I thought I'd forgotten something! Altan is definitely right up there.
posted by LN at 8:07 AM on April 24, 2009


Check this. Lastfm glimpse.
posted by nicolin at 5:17 AM on April 29, 2009


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