Kerry accordion player Brendan Begley puts on a fine showcase of authentic Irish traditional music in his second solo album. The album consists mostly of dance tunes on solo or accompanied accordion and melodeon, with a few songs thrown in for good measure. The Kerry flavour is evident throughout, mostly so in the local dance specialities of polkas and slides (a relative of the jig). The accompaniment is usually sparse or absent, but when it's there it's in good taste: piper Liam O'Flynn, pianist Bríd Cranitch and guitarists Stephen Cooney and Frankie Lane are among the guests on the album.
Brendan is the younger brother of Seamus Begley and is himself well known on the Irish music scene as one of the best of current traditional accordionists. He has guested with both The Chieftains and The Boys of the Lough, and presents a program on trad music on the Irish-language television station (he was born in the Irish-speaking part of Kerry).
This music is genuinely traditional: it doesn't have the big band or big production sounds of the most popular celtic bands but its simplicity allows the natural vibrancy and expression of these dance tunes to shine through, from frentic energy to a measured, in-its-stride approach. It does take a bit of listening to really hear all of what's in this music for those that are not used to it, but there's certainly a lot there to be heard. As such, it's not the best introduction to celtic music, but for anyone looking for the traditional style behind much modern celtic music could do worse than lend Mr. Begley an ear.
You can hear clips from some of the tracks in any of three compressed formats: AU gives the highest quality and the largest files (~300kb), Real Audio [RA] gives a much smaller file (~35kb) but with significant distortion, and the newer Real Audio 3 [RA3] format gives a good compromise, with files of about 70kb. [More assistance.]
- An Droichead / Green Grow the Rushes / The California Girls (hornpipes)
- An Puncán / We Won't Go Home 'Til Morning / Nelly (polkas)
- Cailín na Gruaige Doinne (song)
- Con McGinley's / Biddy from Muckross (reels) [RA, RA3, AU]
- The Bicycle / An Bóthar Ó Thuaidh (slides)
- The Scent of the Bog / An Gasúr Mór (hornpipes)
- Dálaigh / An Rógaire Dubh / Seán Coughlan's (jigs)
- Dónal Óg (song)
- The Plains of Boyle / Callaghan's / Rafferty's (hornpipes)
- The Kerry Hills (song) [RA, RA3, AU]
- The Roundabout / Denis Doody's / Johnny O'Leary's (polkas) [RA, RA3, AU]
- Johnny McEljohn's / President Garfield's (reels)
Meitheal is available on Kells Music (KM-9510), and can be ordered direct by phone.
It should also be available in many record stores.
For further information on Brendan Begley and Kells
Music, call or write to:
64 New Hyde Park Road
Garden City, NY 11530-3909
ph. 800-854-3746 or 516-328-7800
You can also order it online from CDUniverse
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