Album Review - Téada / In Spite of the Storm

I was fortunate enough to see Téada live recently at the Gael Linn 60th Birthday celebration in the National Concert Hall in Dublin where they launched this album called In Spite of the Storm.  One thing became immediately obvious on the night was the extra dimension that newest member Séamus Begley brings to the group. His voice is unique and his stage presence brings a sense of mischief to proceedings.  This record also displays a group at the top of their creative powers and the music is about as good as it gets. It’s mature and confident,  the musicianship is exemplary and the arrangements have been well thought out.  Neither over polished or pedestrian, Téada simply deliver a record that represents all that is good about traditional Irish music.  They never overreach themselves in search of new modern settings or arrangements. They keep it simple and strong, adhering to the principles that make a great record. The musicians are Oisín Mac Diarmada (fiddle), Paul Finn (accordion), Damien Stenson (flute), Seán Mc Elwain (guitar), Tristan Rosenstock (bodhrán) and Séamus Begley (vocals, melodeon).

The audio below for The Reel with the Birl/Carraigín Ruadh/Ryan's Rant is a perfect example of what to expect. The same perfectly delivered  rhythm and bounce can be found on all of the tracks.  The Jig of the Dead set featuring compositions by Harry Bradley, Michael Clarkson, Junior Crehan and James Kelly is equally as nuanced and perfectly delivered. They slow it right down on the slow reel and barndances, Gone For His Tea/Joe Derrane's/All About Weaving.  Again a great track.  Séamus Begley's songs of which there are four are simply glorious including An Spailpín Fánach and Pé in Éirinn Í.  The only oddity would be the inclusion of a Marty Robbins country song called Saddle Tramp which seems slightly at odds with the rest of the album, but is delivered in very distinctive Begley style. They close out the album with James Murray's/Porthole of the Kelp/The Watchmaker/The Spinning Wheel. It’s a wonderful set that starts with flute and bodhrán and builds slowly with instruments joining in a building to a great climax.   In Spite of the Storm is one of the best albums of the year and will be vying with two or three others for the number one spot.  It really is that good and the chance of seeing Téada at a theatre near you should be grabbed if it comes your way.

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Comment by Lyons Filmer on November 20, 2013 at 23:15

I thoroughly agree with Tony's review of "In Spite of the Storm" — an excellent album from Téada. Also agree that Séamus Begley is a lovely addition to their  line-up. However, I do love the version of "Saddle Tramp", but then I am an old fan of Marty Robbins....Check it out!

I'll be talking with Oísin today or tomorrow for broadcast this Saturday on the show I share hosting with Loretta Farley, The Celtic Universe (, 6-8 pm Pacific). "Irish Christmas in America" is coming to Berkeley CA, quite near to us in Point Reyes Station. What a treat!



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