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Come to Dance: A Celtic Tradition
John Whelan
Come to Dance: A Celtic Tradition
Genres: Folk, World Music
  •  Track Listings (18) - Disc #1

A U.S.-dwelling Brit of Irish descent, John Whelan is one of Celtic music's premier performers. He elevates the genre with a sensitivity to melody uninhibited by overpreciousness. The self-taught, nimble-fingered accordion...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: John Whelan
Title: Come to Dance: A Celtic Tradition
Members Wishing: 0
Total Copies: 0
Label: Narada
Original Release Date: 2/23/1999
Release Date: 2/23/1999
Genres: Folk, World Music
Styles: Traditional Folk, British & Celtic Folk, Celtic, Europe, British Isles
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPCs: 724384707026, 0724384707057, 724384707040, 724384707057

A U.S.-dwelling Brit of Irish descent, John Whelan is one of Celtic music's premier performers. He elevates the genre with a sensitivity to melody uninhibited by overpreciousness. The self-taught, nimble-fingered accordion player and tunesmith engages his audience with warmth, clarity, and a joyful liveliness too seldom encountered. Come to Dance, recorded live with no overdubs in his hometown church, marries Whelan's delightfully airy squeezebox meanderings to his band's equally skilled guitar, mandolin, bass, and fiddle, underscored by whistle and Cillian Vallely's pipes as featured on track 14's medley--a moment of rare and genuine beauty. Captured herein is the generosity of spirit and playful electricity of soulful worship, community gathering, and celebration of the creative life force. Traditionals, including the first song Whelan ever learned ("Father Flynn") and the tune he played for his first All-Ireland Championship ("The Concert Reel"), are interspersed with captivating originals that showcase not only Whelan but the band as elements of a contiguous whole. --Paige La Grone

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CD Reviews

A Return Home
goodcraic | Bucks County, PA | 01/07/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This CD is lovely. Now that John's gone round the world building musical bridges, this is a welcome return to his traditional roots. My particular favorite would probably be the flying set of reels on track 4 - with, I might add, a deft key switch smack in the middle of the third reel in the set, which would call for a good 'whoop' from a seisiún hopping girl like myself. Well done, John. :)Oh, by the way, you can also make plans for kicking up some dust with The Fermoy Lasses and The Old High Reel on 7.And there's a grace about the album as a whole, too. Mr. Whelan doesn't insist upon keeping the spotlight to himself when he's quite obviously joined by some fine players. I got to witness this personally in September 1999 in Bethlehem, PA when he cut loose the All Ireland fiddling champion on us. :) He's perfectly content to sit back and let others play, which is as it should be. Lovely guitar work on track 5, and some fine mandolin on 6, and citern (something you don't hear every day) on track 16. Never mind the show stopping piping and fiddling on 14.And there's a great instrumentation savvy as well. It's nearly Bothy Band-ish in orchestral quality. (mind you, coming from me, that's a compliment and a half) Catch some of that on tracks 11 and 12. There's a lovely sonic raport between the acordion and low whistle that I've always loved, and that's brilliantly displayed on tracks 8 and 9.So leave Danny Boy to the reviewer at the bottom of this page. If it's truly fine traditional playing you're after, then just buy the album. I promise, it'll have you "dancing to a lot of time." :)"
Absolutely Brilliant !!!!!!
Todd McDaniel | 04/07/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)

"John really put the hammer down and put out a fantastic traditional CD! I haven't had it out of my player since I got it! A Cd that is a must for the serious collector of traditional irish accordion music !!"
The closest thing to a great, live performance.
goodcraic | 03/05/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"John Whelan is a seven time all-Ireland Champion on the button accordian. He has been playing since childhood, and is now at the point of fluid playing that he can go off stage into the audience and play without missing a beat. His warm hearted playing goes with his warm hearted presence on stage with his audience. Think of your favorite pub with someone playing like this non stop for extended periods with total focus and instinct for the music and fellow musicians in the band. It could be a one track album as John goes into the "happy pub zone." Please listen for the doubles and triplets that are the benchmark for Irish playing. Listen for the counterpoint Bouzouki (deep voiced Octave Mandolin) and guitar. Listen for his long time music companion, Eileen Ivers and exceptional fiddle shared lead and counterpoint. If you think it is easy, it is because John makes it look and sound that way after so many years of playing. Recording an album in such a short period of time without the usual retakes indicates an artist at the top of his form. The music is spiced generously for a few tracks by the master (Ullienne) piper, Cillian Vallely. What endears me to listen to John's music so often is an all acoustic instrument approach. No electrical appliances. It is one of the few CD's I listen to and play through all of the tracks with no exceptions. I add Bodhran and bones to the music, which is fun. However, at the top of my wish list is John teaming up with Johnny McDonnaugh or Tommy Hayes on Bodhran and bones."