Irish Traditions found In Foxglove & Fuchsia

Irish Traditions found In Foxglove & FuchsiaOpening with a Song from County Mayo and known as a Corrs track Bhríd Óg Ní Mháille, sung in Gaelic as we hear the traditional close-up and personal rendition o the unmarried young Brigid O’Malley. We feel instantly the emotional warmth of the voice that will warm your soul throughout Foxglove & Fuchsia. Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh voice dominates the album on this bright and foot tapping collection that will bring you vocal sunshine on the dullest day as the reels and slides spill out of your speakers. This is music for the fireside, in a small public house to share with friends and family this is most definitely not arena music. Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh on Foxglove & Fuchsia captures the warmth, friendship and togetherness that binds traditional music across the globe wherever it is played. The sound is clear a clarion call in any language, the songs are a beguiling mix of Gaelic and English.  Music to laugh, smile, shed a tear too and clap with delight the emotional is captured and understood crossing barriers of language with its inherent simplicity. The tone and texture reflecting the flowers in the album title Foxglove & Fuchsia. The Foxglove growing in the shade its beauty reflected in the dappled sunlight, always slightly hidden from view. In contrast the Fuchsia a vivid, blowsy flower that demands your eye’s attention. What does demand your attention of your ear is Muireann’s wonderful lyrical vocals, a unique blending natural and with hidden depths as the voice pulls the vitality from the damp, moist vitality of the earth in every number. Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh has achieved this by surrounding herself with a phalanx of might musicians that add to the interpretation of traditional Irish Music. Re-shaping the essence into a bright contemporary sound on an album that blends new songs with traditional, the old lyrics rearranged with new melodies.

The almost-title track Where Foxglove takes us into a special place the lyrics paint a visual soundscapes, we are among the flowers overlooking the sea. The guitar of Gerry O’Beirne & Donal O’Connor’s strings gentle complement the full tonal glory of her vocals. The harmonies on The Final Trawl make this track standout. Gaelic number from Basket Island about love lasting the test of time, the music and words fall over you and there is a solid permanence of love throughout the number.  The mood changes we get up and dance to The Reels, infectious music and she plays the whistle with passion and flair on the instrumental joined by Bodhran played by Donnchadh & her husband Billy Mag Fhloinn on Bouzouki. A true celebration of instruments and the uplifting atmosphere that the instruments create. Her voice is not silent for long as I courted A Soldier, with harp and Uilleann pipes this is a gentle number that is delivering the heart and soul of Irish music.

Closing out this album that inner beauty with its quiet approach is Bean Dubh An Ghleanna, Black Bean of the Glen, so appropriate that unrequited love is explored as the music and a language of traditional Irish music is shared. An album full of beautiful moments, warmth and comfort. The speakers have transported us to a different land we find ourselves sitting in her garden surrounded by earthly beauty celebrating Foxglove & Fuchsia, comfortable in the personal space where we sit in her garden surrounded by earthly beauty celebrating Foxglove & Fuchsia shares with us on the album.

Foxglove & Fuchsia – Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh

EIGHTpawprint half inchdoodle paws out of TEN …

Track Listing

  1. Bhríd Óg Ní Mháille
  2. Sleamhnain / Slides
  3. Where Foxglove
  4. The Final Trawl
  5. Muirisin Deas Is Nora
  6. Rileanna / Reels
  7. I Courted A Soldier
  8. An Sciobairin
  9. Polcal / Polkas
  10. Johnny Has Gone For A Soldier
  11. Bean Dubh An Ghleanna

Irish Traditions found In Foxglove & Fuchsia

On The Lonesome Plain With Donal Clancy

On The Lonesome Plain With Donal Clancy

On The Lonesome Plain With Donal Clancy


With the musical intricacies of Donal Clancy accompanying you it will never be solitude On the Lonesome Plain. This is definitely no Wild West Country album. It is pure Irish Folk traditional tones with its mix of instrumentals and songs.

Opening with The Lowlands of Holland, we are introduced to the renowned guitar and vocal skills of Donal. With a solid folk vibe, the tone encourages you to sit back, relax and let the music flow over you just as a gentle spring breeze would over the lonesome plain.  Within the traditional numbers are two of Donal’s own compositions in tune with the album a song and an instrumental. Firstly, we have The Green Fields of Canada full of yearning followed seamlessly by his own Máirseáil  Na Conrach picking up the beat this is home, the moment for the warmth and familiarity with the hints of a jig. Towards the end of the album is his number commemorating the 1916 Easter rising,   A Strike For Victory. Throughout the album, his stylish fingerpicking gives the guitar tone and textures that add layers of vibrating sound.  His interpretation of the Scottish number Open The Door Softly from the pen of Archie Fisher is particularly effective. The track shines with the artistry of Ciaran Sommers’ Flute and David Power’s Whistle adding a haunting air and wistfulness as the door is softly opened.  We dance and swirl our skirts remembering warm summer days with The Waterford Waltz, more country fair than Strictly with its relaxed approach to the Waltz! Another classic given the Clancy treatment is Reynardine, suiting the tone of the album and the pitch of Donal’s vocals. No folk album is complete without dancing and drinking and we have Whiskey, You’re the Devil which fits the bill. Upbeat this is a fireside song with a whiskey in the jar.

On The Lonesome Plain is thirteen tracks of folk shaded with the greens of Ireland, the brightness of the sun and the gentle washing of the warm rain.  It has a fresh feel that entertains ad captures the listener as you sit back and let the strain of the day wash away with every chord from Donal Clancy’s magical guitar.

Donal ClancyOn The Lonesome Plain

EIGHT pawprint half inchdoodle paws out of TEN ….

Track Listing

  1. The Lowlands of Holland
  2. The Green Fields of Canada
  3. Drill, Ye Tarriers
  4. Open The Door Softly
  5. The Honorable Thomas Burke
  6. The Waterford Waltz
  7. Reynardine
  8. Fling
  9. Blackwater Side
  10. Whiskey, You’re the Devil
  11. Miss McDermott
  12. Strike for Victory
  13. Idir Aird Mhor Is Eochaill

Listen To Beoga Before We Change Our Mind

Listen to Beoga Before We Change Our Minds

Listen To Beoga Before We Change Our Mind

This is Irish music full of tradition, shared folk memories and family conversations, laughs and tears around the fireside. Beoga with open minds as they shape the tradition re-forming it with gently supple musician’s fingers with twentieth-century influences, blues riffs, flowing jazz and New Orleans party time is incorporated into the jigs and twirls.

The product of a five-year break from the recording studio Before We Change Our Mind is an album shaped with a confidence and maturity. The album is full of swirling dance music that has a sense of fun there is a mischievousness behind the clarity of the music. With the opening instrumentals, the musicianship is the centre of attention especially the guitar of Seán Óg Graham and piano of Liam Bradley on Eochaid and the echo of Eamon Murray’s bodhrán and the accordion of Damian McKee. Then is time for Niamh Dunne to give voice on The Bonny Ship, The Diamond and the mood changes as the voice gives a different timbre to the music. The vocals add interest to a predominantly instrumental album, as Niamh gives voice on Farewell To Carlingford, Like A Dime and Wexford Town mixing the traditional and their own compositions.

The instruments dominate the album, Aurora glimmers reflecting the shades within Irish music as intriguing as a sky held mesmerized by the lights of every hue of an Aurora. The title track has a bouncy percussion and is in a hurry to accomplish the dance before We Change Our Minds as the accordion picks up the fervor and the piano adding stability. Closing with the last instrumental Valhalla a drinking hall of musical delight as we absorb the beauty of traditional music that has a lightness of touch that is shaped by other influences but always comes home to the original with authentic charm.

EIGHT pawprint half inchdoodle paws out of TEN ….

Track Listing

  1. The Homestead Hero
  2. Eochaid
  3. The Bonny Ship, The Diamond
  4. Aurora
  5. Farewell to Carlingford
  6. The Convict
  7. Jump The Broom
  8. Like A Dime
  9. Before We Change Our Mind
  10. Wexford Town
  11. Valhalla

CD Review: O’Connor, McSherry & Graham ~ Ulaid


Scan0002Donal O’Connor – John McSherry – Sean Og Graham

Release Date 23rd October 2015

Many weave Celtic/Irish traditional music into their acoustic, rock and progressive music due to the melodic, beat music that is drenched in an infectious beat. This is an album that is one hundred percent authentic it is the heart soul and mind that is Irish traditional music. The trio of musicians
Donal O’Connor a multi-instrumentalist the son of celebrated fiddler Gerry O’Connor and Eithane Ni Uallachain singer extraordinaire– John McSherry, making the Uilleann Piping come alive pushing the boundaries of traditional Irish music and Sean Og Graham, guitar and accordion player who has performed and recorded with many traditional musicians.
The album title is a word that is the name applied to a given ethnic group, rather than geographic location and The Ulaid gave their name to the Province of Ulster which is rather fitting as the trio of outstanding musicians live in County Antrim in the North East of Ireland. The album they have created is like the people of Ulster full of tears, laughter and dance whose histories are the weft and warp that weaves itself around your musical memories as the instruments evoke shapes, tones and emotions painting a tonal landscape in your mind.
We dance the polka with Polska Polka with the melding of Eastern European cadences that make you want to get up as the fiddle and pipes set the tone. The tempo slows and the mood changes at the beginning of Punching Holes In Music then as O’Connor’s fiddle joins the beat picks up and the music shapes are explored around the dance beat this is music that doesn’t so much punch holes but sears into a musical memory of dance joined by a community for fun and the meeting of collective experiences. The Ramblers is a marching tune with a difference McSherry’s pipes give the tune a drive and clarity with a percussive foundation and searing fiddling the perfect start to a day rambling through Irish countryside and would give your feet a cushioning of musical pleasure. No Room To Wriggle in The Cauldron stays true to the architecture of Irish music the guitar playing of Graham gives this a contemporary feel that bounces along to a merry jig. The last track has the feeling of a lullaby, the laid back texture of the time to rest to put down your tools of labour and relax.

An instrumental journey through ULaid is one of Irish Melodies that linger long after the last note dies away.

Bluesdoodles gives this CD SEVEN pawprint half inchdoodle paws out of TEN ….

Track Listing

1. Top Up or Seamus
2. Polska Polka
3. Roll It There, Roisin
4. The Return of Madagascar
5. Punching Holes in Music
6. The Ramblers
7. If Ever I Marry
8. No Room To Wriggle In The Cauldron
9. Lights Out At Five

Cara Dillon ~ Live @ The Convent

Cara Dillon Live 2010A huge thank you from Bluesdoodles for the wonderful Netgig service, we could listen enjoy and be delighted by Cara Dillon and her band who wove an evening that musically shaped an Irish landscape.

We had a fiddle, squeeze box and acoustic guitars a voice that is blessed with angel kisses and Cara plays a mean penny whistle from descant through to the tenor the tone matching the lyrical beauty of the traditional and Cara’s own songs whether sung in Gaelic or English they all weaved their own enchantment.

This is folk music that is full of tradition but has a modernity about the style together with her musical partner Sam Lakeman she has explored music and the journey has been interesting but as we see tonight she is now firmly entrenched in her Irish roots.

Sam opened the evening on piano as Cara’s voice soared across the alter and down the Choir stalls at The Convent, the venue suiting the tone and quality of the music and then the a traditional Donegal number Jacket So Blue, a jig with the fiddler picking up the dance of this happy tempo delight.  The songs all have a story and the instrumentation changes creating a textured tapestry as squeeze box takes over from the fiddle and the guitar fades and then the emphasis changes, keeping the set interesting and full of musical energy. We heard songs in Irish about a very drunk man, you did not have to understand the language the emotional tone and lyrical cadence was all you need to be drawn into the music.

Coming back from a short break, where we were entertained by a playlist from the convent the music back catalogue flowed with perfect simplicity as a trio opened the second half; Cara, Sam and the fiddler Niall Murphy. Then as Cara described probably the saddest song you will ever hear capturing the full grief and gamut of emotions described as homesickness felt by a County Derry man who left the land he loved Winding River Road, starting acapella it was spellbinding then Sam on Piano picks up the tune to accompany Cara. A change of tempo with Sam back playing his stylish acoustic guitar and Cara picks up the pace with a lively rendition of Den of Thieves full of energy raising the temperature with the change of tempo; definitely a favourite with the lively and appreciative audience. Sam introduced as the China Set, Cara has many fans in China, an instrumental medley that allowed Cara to have a well-deserved break. Kicking off with a solo from All Ireland Fiddle champion Niall Murphy who played a reel that just had to be danced to!  With Sam on guitar, Luke Daniels on squeeze box and Ed Boyd on guitar. Then the voice we all want to hear returns to the stage piano and her Irish lilt is just harmony personified the songs ebbed and flowed the sustaining force was the clarity and beauty of a voice that has to be one of the best female voices of the twenty first century. It has a timeless ethereal quality that’s firmly rooted deep in the soul of Irish music and culture.  Closing with a song they composed in the form of a traditional folk song with a long complicated narrative that really works as she warmly thanked the audience for listening in appreciative silence, this was broken with a spontaneous Happy Birthday sung by The Convent audience for Cara before she could start the song you can only get this spontaneity at a live music event. Then an encore a duo that weaved the magic we all wanted to continue live music up close, personal and delivered with love.


The Convent - copyright  - Mark Jarvis
The Convent – copyright – Mark Jarvis

Netgig, The Convent and Cara Dillion plus the talented musicians was a wonderful way to spend a Friday evening and the wine tasted very sweet as an accompaniment to Irish traditional songs.Cara Dillon Live 2 2011

REad teh review what to experience Cara Dillion live yourself – YOU CAN thanks to Netgig follow the link to CARA experience HERE

Cara Dillion Photographs from Albums on Cara Dillion’s website