Album Review - Kilfenora Céili Band / Chapter Eight

When it come to institutions in the Irish tradition you need look no further than The Kilfenora Céilí Band.  In existence for over 100 years they have seen highs and lows and have emerged in the last decade as an energised and relevant part of our traditional music scene.  The leadership of John Lynch has been a big part of this renewed purpose and identity.  The current line up has been stable for some years and the ten-piece band features Fintan McMahon (Piano), Sean Griffin (Drums), Garry Shannon & Anthony Quigney (Flutes & Whistles), Tim Collins (Concertina), Claire Griffin (Accordain), Anne Rynne, Anne Marie McCormack (Fiddles)  Eimear Howley & Sinéad Heagney (Fiddles & Violas), John Lynch (Banjo). Brian O'Grady  (Double Bass) & Sharon Howley (Cello).  They have developed beyond competitions and dances and are now a band in demand, travelling and sharing the world stage with the best.  The founding members could never have envisioned a future where their actions would a century later still have such an influence.

Chapter Eight represents their eight album and lifts them onto a level playing field with the plethora of new groups and collaborations out there.  Produced by Kevin Crawford of Lúnasa who brings his immense experience of both the material and the recording process.  He injects it with a life and energy that is still quintessentially Céilí band but vibrant and alive in the process.  The band have not stood still on their view of where their place in the world is.  They state that "a tradition is a living breathing process that can connect people with the past while still building for the future.  It can at the same time thrive on innovation while still respecting the past".  Recognising this they have pioneered an innovative approach to the performance of their music with Double bass, Cello and Viola introduced.  

The recording retains all the elements associated with Céilí bands. Driving sets with tune progressions that have sharp crisp changeovers and two beat piano introductions.  The initial tunes are familiar including Down The Broom/Flowing Bowl/The Woman of The House.  They follow this with the ever recognisable Battering Ram paired with Tierney's Fancy/Munster Buttermilk. They introduce variety into the recording with two guest songs from Galwegian Don Stiffe who gives us Galway Bay and a great old song called Come By The Hills written by W. Gordon Smith which I have not heard for some time.  Echoes of The School House is a great Military Two Step that was a party piece of Jim Mulqueeney a founding member of the band and it is great to see them reintroduce it.  Every track is a treat with surprises at every turn. Waltzes that celebrate the Milwaukee Fest, reels for their French and Breton friends, and marches and quadrilles also feature. Chapter Eight is as engaging an album as you will encounter and celebrates the best Céilí band around.  Production, arrangements, tune selection and variety are outstanding. The Kilfenora Céili Band will be round for another 100 years by which stage they will no doubt be on Chapter 16 or 20.  As they say themselves in their closing notes "the band is an on-going story, an open book that continues to be written.  One wonders what Chapter Nine will reveal."

Listen and Buy : www.kilfenoraceiliband.ie

Views: 274

Add a Comment

You need to be a member of TradConnect to add comments!

Join TradConnect

© 2017   Created by Tony Lawless.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service