Album Review - Séamus Begley & Oisín Mac Diarmada / Together - Le Chéile

Séamus Begley and Oisín Mac Diarmada get down to business from the off here with a rip roaring set of slides called The Scartaglen/Trasna na dTonnta to open up this, their first duet album.  It's like a buddy cop movie with the older more experienced Begley taking the younger Mac Diarmada down the freeway at 100 mph saying "keep up son."  Begley with his wily, been around the block approach leads. Rough edges, natural expression and a lifetime on the job is Begley's lot and his accordion playing is the epitome of what traditional music should sound like.  Invigorating and lively with the sweetest of sounds emanating from the reeds.  Slowed down he also gives perfect accompaniment to a couple of his own songs that include An tSeanbhean Bhocht and Bánchnoic Éireann Ó. His singing and music has become legendary from his previous work with Steve Cooney and it is also evident here on this recording.

Like all great buddy movies it is not long before the younger Mac Diarmada is snapping at Begley's heels with a solo set of tunes called King of The Clans/The Woman of The House. This is a perfectly executed set full of expression, nuance and phrasing and shows Oisín as a player of some considerable talent and expression. At this stage he himself is becoming somewhat of a journeyman from his work with Téada and numerous other collaborations. And so they gain each other’s mutual respect resulting in a great partnership that shows how the cross generational aspects of this music can work a treat. When you mix it in this way the recording is not so analytical in its approach as both musicians find the middle ground where the music has some rougher edges but benefits as a result.  The album includes four songs with a great version of Banks of The Bann as well as eight traditional tracks.   At just 30 minutes  it is a short but extremely rewarding experience. We await the sequel.

Listen and buy : or Oisín's website

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