Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Genres: Folk, World Music, New Age, Pop
For their 10th album, the veteran Irish ensemble has gathered 13 traditional and newly composed tunes. These are transformed via singer/fiddler Mairéad ní Mhaonaigh¹s Gaelic-speaking Donegal birthright and gussied up by th... more »
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For their 10th album, the veteran Irish ensemble has gathered 13 traditional and newly composed tunes. These are transformed via singer/fiddler Mairéad ní Mhaonaigh¹s Gaelic-speaking Donegal birthright and gussied up by the group¹s modern yet reassuringly earthy acoustic arrangements. The set list includes several of the jaunty dance tunes that are the soul of Irish music; Is the Big Man Within/Tilly Finn¹s Reel is an especially fine example. But Ní Mhaonaigh¹s fragile, girlish soprano creates many of the album¹s most memorable moments, Adieu My Lovely Nancy and a lullaby, Dun Do Shuil linger in the heart and ear. She and her husband, accordionist Dermot Byrne, own a pub in a small village called Teelin and it must be a great place for musicians to swap songs and tell tales. Indeed, the entire album has home-town warmth to it, a sense of achieved heritage that is at once soothing and invigorating. --Christina Roden
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Great Instrumentals, Fair Vocals
John A Lee III | San Antonio, TX | 11/18/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Altan is a wonderful group and they occasionally issue some really good songs but, in my opinion, their strength is in their instrumental selections. LOCAL GROUND is an album that demonstrates this well.
I don't understand the songs because I don't speak the language. Still the voice is pleasant and the tune more so. They do a fine job. The instrumentals, however, need no translation. They are finely crafted, exquisitely mixed and a joy to hear.
If you like traditional or modern Celtic music, Alta should certainly be among your favorites. This album is not too shabby either.
Excellent Altan album after a series of slumps (the best sin
Ian Martyn | Los Angeles, CA USA | 08/02/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In my opinion, Altan hasn't released a single good album since Island Angel until now. After the death of Frankie Kennedy, they got worse and worse, culminating in the horrible Blue Idol with irrelevant guest artists and poorly conceived tracks. However, that appears just to be a slump.
Local Ground picks up right where Island Angel left off, showing a mature band in top form. "Eirigh 's Cuir Ort Do Chuid Eadaigh" is one of my favorite songs and hearing Altan perform it is such a delight. Mairéad ní Mhaonaigh's voice is perfect for this song and it reminds me of Altan's recording of Dulaman several years earlier. The sets on this album are impeccably performed and the guests on this album are both relevant and sensitive to the power of Altan's playing.
Overall, an excellent CD that rivals the playing on their first albums. I highly recommend it!"
Peter Grant | Hobart, Tasmania, AUSTRALIA | 05/15/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It's simple really. Just put together great tunes and fine musicians; stir in a judicious mixture of traditional and recently-penned music - making sure you include a couple of memorable songs - and you have an Altan album. It's a formula that has kept the Donegal group near the top of Irish traditional folk for 20 years. After all that time you could forgive them if their 10th album showed signs of staleness or repetition. Instead, absolutely to the contrary, "Local Ground" exudes a freshness and pared-back honesty that must be the envy of those who have yet to master Altan's "simple" formula.
The beautifully simple Gaoth Dobhair song "Arise Now and Dress Yourself" - which we heard Clannad do decades ago - opens the album sounding as crisp and new as if it had just been minted. Other trad. songs, including "Adieu, My Lovely Nancy", "Amhran Pheadair Bhreathnaigh" and "The Wind and the Rain", are also delivered with straightforward grace and strength by Mairead ni Mhaonaigh. The jigs, reels and other tunes are mostly "trad: arr.", and beautifully played, with twin fiddles, accordion and fretted instruments taking turns to feature. Alongside these older tunes stand a wonderful pair of more recent efforts, one by band member Daithi Sproule ("The Roseville") and the other by rising legend Peadar O Riada ("Sport"). Each stakes a claim to be the album's most memorably jaunty tune. If pushed I'd have to say that the beautifully crisp mandolin work of Ciaran Curran, which defies the feet to remain still, inclines my vote towards "Sport".
As the album title implies, Altan have gone back to their roots for this effort, with Donegal music a strong feature. As a result "Local Ground" exudes a powerful and fresh energy for their tradition, and re-launches the band into a part of the stratosphere inhabited by precious few others on the folk scene.