Album Review - Caitlín Nic Gabhann / Caitlín

Three bars in and your senses are awakened, one set in and your musical imagination is captured. Caitlín Nic Gabhann has a hold of you and will not let go until 15 tracks and some 50 minutes have elapsed. This is as accomplished a debut album as any I have heard. Certain albums may take more than one listen before you start to inhabit the musicians world, but not this one. We do not say this lightly as we have heard some great albums of late, including one by Jack Talty who has recorded, mixed and mastered this album, and Jack knows a thing or two about concertinas. We met him recently and he hinted that there was some good music on the way, and boy was he right.

Raised in a house full of music in County Meath Caitlín learned most of her music from her father and fiddle player Antóin Mac Gabhann. Influence beyond the walls of her own home came via the playing of Micheál Ó Raghallaigh, Catherine McEvoy and others as she developed a style and talent all her own.  As a musician Caitlin has performed in Ireland, USA and beyond with bands like Cruinniú, Cuisle and NicGaviskey with the latter releasing their debut album in 2010 called "Home Away From Home".

In truth every track on this album is worthy of mention, but what is more important is the overall context of the recording. It is bright, refreshing and intuitively natural in every sense. As traditional as you will get, it is music that lifts your spirit from the off. The Leeside Sessions/The Reel With the Beryl/John Naughton's/The Green Fields of America with its high octave passages, harmonised bass notes and triplets galore is a masterclass in how to tackle a set of reels. The phrasing within Master's Return/The Millhouse is fantastic as it creates space for the melody to pervade. The self compositions of which there are six in total are by no means just album fillers. Each has a story and a context, from a brief period stuck in an elevator in Brisbane ( Elevated ) to the parting of friends when the Leaving Certificate Exams ended ( Cill Dheagláin ) both relevant to a new generation spreading across the globe.  Heartstrings another self composition is also an especially appealing waltz. To great effect she also includes the sounds of dancing on two of the tracks. The album comprises mostly jigs and reels with a single hornpipe set and a great set of slides called Up Leitrim/A Tune For Bernie. Guitar accompaniment is by Caoimhin Ó Fearghail throughout with the exception of a couple of tracks.

This debut album has shifted the centre of gravity of traditional music north eastwards to Meath. It is well executed, invigorating and lively music with nothing held back by way of artistic interpretation and nothing unnecessary added that would crowd out the glorious rhythms that are created. Recording and mastering are of the highest quality and all in all it is a stunning debut.  Miss it at your peril.
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Comment by una haugh on March 5, 2013 at 23:51


Comment by Ann Dillon on March 5, 2013 at 21:24

A Fantastic CD, Purchased it in The Catskills last year have been playing it ever since. Album of the year for sure. 

Comment by una haugh on March 5, 2013 at 0:52

CAITLIN cd should without a douth be album of the year,it has fantastic music on it,music that makes you want to dance,that is music at it's best.

Comment by Enda Mc Glone on March 4, 2013 at 23:43

Fabulous musician. Her new album CAITLIN should be album of the year without a doubt!

Comment by Michael Braley on July 21, 2012 at 1:47

Followed Dick's advice and am well pleased. Nice set of tunes and fun to play along with on my bodhran. In fact, the tunes really lend themselves to that.

Comment by Dick Glasgow on July 9, 2012 at 13:06

Great CD & you can do what I did, check out the tracks & buy it here at: CD Baby



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