Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Genres: Folk, World Music, New Age, Pop
Altan hails from the same part of Ireland as Clannad. But while that other County Donegal band has turned to middle-of-the-road pop, Altan walks down a more traditional path of Irish music. It's one connected to the reviva... more »
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Altan hails from the same part of Ireland as Clannad. But while that other County Donegal band has turned to middle-of-the-road pop, Altan walks down a more traditional path of Irish music. It's one connected to the revival begun when the Bothy Band and Boys of the Lough rediscovered an Irish musical tradition deeper than "Danny Boy." Like those forbears, Altan is more raucous, less ethereal, and relies on simple acoustic instruments and live performance to get their heritage across. That doesn't mean they're a musty repertory band, dusting off Irish curios like antique-shop keepers. Altan infuses their songs with a new vitality, led by the breathy voice of Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh, who sings in English and Gaelic. She and Ciarán Curran wrap twin fiddles around songs like "The High Fiddle Reel." On the many slow airs, including "Island Girl," Altan creates a rippling accompaniment of bouzoukis, guitars, flute, and accordion to Ní Mhaonaigh's voice. Altan is a welcome relief from the over-produced new Celtic music of recent years. --John Diliberto
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Well. .make that 4 and a half out of five!
Patrick J. Mcdougall | Baltimore, Maryland | 05/19/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"So, what did you expect? A BAD album from Altan! "Another Sky" deserves to be added to the list of "must have" Celtic music albums, and in my opinion rates as one of Altan's finest. While the album's instrumentals are slightly lacking in comparison to some of the band's best high energy, "can't stop your feet from tapping" fiddle-centered tunes that make previous Altan release "Island Angel" a classic in my estimation, this album is probably their strongest in terms of songs- especially those done in English as opposed to Gaelic/Irish. The group's rendition of "Green Grow the Rushes" will have the catchy lyrics stuck in your mind all day, and Mairead ni Mhaonaigh's entrancing voice can only be matched by the quality of her fiddling. I must, however, strongly disagree with "Top 100 Reviewer" Jerome Clark's assessment of the song "Island Girl" (NOT the same as Elton John's song of the same name), which I feel is heavily loaded with a powerful emotion that calls forth the memory of late band co-founder (and Mairead's husband until his tragic loss to cancer) Frankie Kennedy. To me the song is simply beautiful and in itself is worth the price of the album. To each his own! Buy the album and form your own opinion-- I wager you won't be disappointed!"
Good music, good taste, as usual
Jerome Clark | Canby, Minnesota | 03/14/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Altan remains among the very finest Irish folk bands, and it just keeps getting better. Another Sky, another triumph of good taste and good music, is especially welcome at a time when many Celtic artists seem to be gravitating to less traditional sounds, with overblown pop production to match. True to its roots, Altan fashions a sound that is at once lush and spare, something only masters can pull off. Some of the songs -- "Green Grow the Rushes," "Ten Thousand Miles," "The Verdant Braes of Screen" -- may be familiar to those who know the Anglo-Celtic tradition, but they're no less welcome for that. A particular treat, and an unexpected one, is Dylan's "Girl from the North Country." Altan returns the song to the tradition -- it's essentially a reworking of the ancient ballad "Scarborough Fair" (from England's, not Minnesota's, north country)-- which inspired it. Steve Cooney's "Island Girl," on the other hand, seems out of place -- a not particularly inspired lyric and a fairly ordinary melody. One wonders what Altan saw in it. Moreover, Maircad Ni Mhaonaigh, ordinarily an assured singer, fails to shave off its sentimental edges. Still, given a host of well-chosen songs and tunes, this is a small complaint."
A bit disappointed...
Jerome Clark | 06/21/2000
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I adore Altan. I'd go see them live ANYtime, as they play with passion, clarity, and originality. This CD, however, doesn't quite do it for me, meaning, I have to make myself listen to it, to keep up with what one of my fave Irish bands is doing. I love the opening cut, and would love to see Altan do more vocally playful stuff like this. I must agree with the Dublin reviewer, however, about the middle-of-the-road quality of the album overall. I miss the rich,driving arrangements typical of their studio work (the sets here sound a little thin to me), and think there are too many slow ballads. (Of these, I do find "Island Girl" very moving, as it does seem to allude to Frankie. But I'd only include one of these per album.) I've always bought Altan albums on principle, without previewing, knowing I was in for a great listen. I will probably sample first, here on out."