Traditional Irish Music
Indeedin You Needn't Bother, the debut solo album from concertina player Brenda Castles, is a fourteen track album of traditional Irish music on concertina, with accompaniment from guitarists Eoghan Scott, Tony Byrne and Paul Browne, and harpist Séana Davey.
Brenda comes from a rich background of traditional Irish music in Co. Meath. Growing up, there was plenty of music and dancing in her house - her father Noel plays banjo and her mother Lily was known to participate in the odd set dance. Younger siblings Emily and Paul also play fiddle and uilleann pipes.
Brenda has several All-Ireland Fleadh titles to her name both in solo and group competitions. She has just returned from a series of concerts in New York and is currently based in Dublin city centre where she regularly performs and teaches music.
Her early tuition came from neighbour Rena Traynor (née Crotty) from Kilrush, first on tin whistle and later on concertina. When Rena passed away in 1995, Brenda started lessons with one of Rena's former pupils, concertina maestro Mícheál Ó'Raghallaigh. At the same time she took over Rena's younger students and has been teaching concertina and tin whistle ever since.
“I really wanted to play the flute” says Brenda, “but Rena lived only a couple of miles away so concertina it was. In fairness, my parents gave me a chance to play the flute at a later stage but I wasn't very good so I think they made the right choice with the concertina.”
Brenda explains the story behind the album title: “I composed the slip jig "Indeedin You Needn't Bother" in memory of my granny Teresa Fitzsimons. Years ago my mother and aunt were going away for the weekend leaving her alone in the house. My sister offered to keep her company while they were away. "Indeedin you needn't bother", was her acerbic reply. It's not a phrase you'd hear anywhere else in the world apart from Ireland.”
This is the opening track on the album and includes the reels Phyllis’ Birthday, Paddy Fahy’s and The Cloone.
Regarding this track Brenda writes : “The first tune was written by accordion player Josephine Marsh for her mother. I found it in the myriad of session recordings I made over the years on devices ranging from tape recorder to mini-disc to mp3 player to Zoom. There are so many, I've now only a vague idea who played what and where any of it was recorded. The second tune is a Paddy Fahy composition and the third, a south Leitrim flute tune composed by John Blessing, is also known as 'The Humours of Toomagh'. ‘An chluain’ means 'the meadow'. The tune was resurrected to my mind by the playing of Birmingham banjo player, Joe Molloy.”
As well as her own compositions, the album also has tunes from composers such as Ed Reavy, Vincent Broderick and Charlie Lennon. Brenda's sister learned fiddle from Antóin MacGabhann so Vincent Broderick tunes were a staple while growing up. Other composers featured include Paddy O'Brien, Paddy Fahy and Peadar O'Riada.
The album comes with a beautiful booklet including the photograph above of hot air balloons rising at dawn over ancient temples. It was taken by Brenda herself on her travels through Myanmar in 2015. The temples are located in the ancient city of Bagan in central Myanmar(formerly Burma). The beauty of the area inspired Brenda to write her second composition on the album, The Burma Banks. "We have 'The Liffey Banks' and 'The Sunny Banks' so I thought why not 'The Burma Banks," says Brenda. "Luckily I always travel with my concertina - it must be the most travelled concertina in Ireland - it's been all over Asia, across Mongolia on horseback, across Russia on a train, up to Iceland, on speedboats in Thailand and more!"
Also of interest is the two concertina cases featured on the album cover which were made by a leather worker on the streets of Bangkok. Brenda brought over an original Jeffries case and the leather worker copied it. "It takes him ten days to do a case - it's such beautiful craftsmanship. I'll have to find him and give him a copy of the album next time I'm over," says Brenda.
The album will be officially launched in a series of performances throughout the country in early 2017.
The album is also available as a free download for broadcasters that are part of our Download Centre.
Brenda Castles : Concertina
Eoghan Scott : Guitar
Paul Browne : Guitar
Tony Byrne : Guitar
Séana Davey : Harp
Tony Quinn : Bodhrán
Recorded at Sonic Studios, Dublin
Produced by Brenda Castles
Mixed at Sonic Studios by Brenda Castles and Al Cowen
Mastered by Tim Martin
Design by Dorothyann Strange
Photography by Tom Micks, Dorothyann Strange, Dave Keegan, Brenda Castles
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