As we approach the end of the year is there any one, or two stand out albums that you have bought and played to death. We are in recessionary times here in Ireland so my album purchasing has dropped significantly. However I have had the pleasure of receiving some albums in the post. As a fiddle player I am going to have to pick a fiddle album ( no disrespect to the other artists ) and it has to be Donal McCague's Bits N Pieces. Great and powerful stuff Donal.

So what did it for you? Share your treasured albums with the rest of us and lets promote great music.

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Well, for me there's two 'norn iron' albums that has been spinning away over and over, one is:

Cathal McConnell - Long Expectant Comes at Last

the other is:

Jig Away the Donkey feat. Gerry O'Connor (fiddle), Gabriel McArdle and Martin Quinn

With an honorary mention to a great source of great songs from a great singer :) Yes, it's Cathal McConnel again:

I have traveled this country

You have got good taste Lars. Those sound samples sound great. I must have.....

It's hard to choose, so I'll have to break it down this way:

At First Light's new CD 'Idir' is my first choice from an established band.  I just received the CD a couple of weeks ago, and I love it all, but especially the final two tracks, 'Roy's Hands' and 'The Pipers of Roguery'!

The newer Irish traditional artist CDs that I've played most this year would some briliant harp and uilleann pipes playing by Kavan Donohoe 'Kavan from Cavan', and Donal McCague's beautifully done fiddling on 'Bits N Pieces'.

As far as fiddle legends, Kevin Burke's latest 'Suite' is really just top notch and crosses over the Irish trad arrangements into a beautiful realm.

Since I am fairly new to the Irish trad genre - I spend most of my time poring over old classics like Bobby Casey's 'In the Cowhouse', and just about anything by The Bothy Band and the members including legendary members Paddy Keenan, Kevin Burke and Tommy Peoples.



Thanks Tony. Much appreciated! :)

I'd forgot to add that Donal McCague's CD 'Bits and Pieces' is nominated as Best New CD in the 2011 Irish Music Association's Awards (U.S.), and that I voted for him myself.  This is only the third year these awards have been running, and they have been  tremendously popular, helping to give the aritists much needed name recognition and visibility in the U.S. and around the world.

Everyone around the world can vote and nominate in these awards.  Please go to Irish Music Awards this Holiday and vote for Donal, because voting is ending in only three weeks.  Please let your family and friends know that they can vote too.

The way the vote counting has been arranged; Donal will paid member votes to win, because paid votes are weighted with more voting power than free votes.  Paid members get to vote twice, FREE and PAID (heavy) votes.  As a paid member, you will then be able to nominate artists for next year's award.  The rules aren't clear, but that is what I found out by looking at the forums on the IMA website.

I want to add that the IMA awards aren't perfect;  too much voting power has occurred with internet voting BLOCKS on FaceBook and other social networks.  This leads to many of the artists in big shows like "Celtic Woman", "Celtic Thunder", "Riverdance" and other big shows winning most of the votes.  I even found a rigged voting ballot online for the 'Celtic Woman' entourage written in Brazilian Portuguese!!!

So as a result, many good and great traditional artists are pretty much under-rated and left out in the cold, unless they are of superstar status!

Please support Donal McCague for 'Best New CD' and let your FaceBook friends know too!!!

Bow Fire 

Canadian "group" of some of the top fiddlers in Canada.  It is totally Canadian performers.  They play a mixed genre, but the bulk is Celtic.  I think they have out 2 or 3 CDs.  You can check here:


Since I'm still new to this fiddling thing, I've been trying to soak up a lot in a short time.  I spent a good deal of time with Kevin Burke early on, but this last year has belonged to Martin Hayes.   Also doing a lot of Old Blind Dogs.  New (for me) albums this year:  Fiddle Sticks (Peoples, Tourish, et al), Ar An Bhfidil, Coleman's Vive Voce, lots of Planxty, and a great Ed Reavy tribute album w/various artists.  So much more to learn!  My Amazon wish list is growing.  And I've discovered the Comhaltas website.  I know..I'm such a newbie.  I'll check back in a few years when I can play a halfway-decent bowed triplet.  :)

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