New or more obscure ITM bands/artists?

New or more obscure ITM bands/artists?

Hi all,
I host a brief weekly Celtic music program at a local campus radio station here in southern British Columbia, Canada. I’m constantly trying to find ITM artists whose music I might like, and thought I’d see if anyone has any suggestions for me. I play the more well known names (e.g. Patrick Street, The Bothy Band, Planxty, Danu, Lunasa, Dervish, early The Chieftains, etc., etc.) on a regular-ish basis, but try to liberally include less well-known groups as well.

With very limited exceptions I do NOT like:

* Celtic rock
* Any sort of Celtic fusion
* Many folk songs; I usually stick to instrumental only.

Other than that I try to include a wide range of sounds and styles within the Celtic traditional/folk music genre, including ITM, Scottish trad, and derivatives such as Canadian fiddle music. So, suggestions anyone?

Thanks in advance!
Jonathan

Re: New or more obscure ITM bands/artists?

It may sound like cantankerous old-manitude, but it boggles my mind that many players these days are totally unaware of the greats prior to, say, 1980. Every time I meet ITM players who have never heard (or heard of!) Seamus Ennis, I die a little inside. So play the mighty ones! Seamus Ennis, Willie Clancy, Leo Rowsome, Padraig o’Keeffe, Denis Murphy, Julia Clifford, Paddy Cronin, Michael Coleman, James Morrison, Michael Gorman, John Kelly, Patrick Kelly, Bobby Casey….just to start. The list goes ever on.

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Re: New or more obscure ITM bands/artists?

Well said, Danjo

proper musicians without gimmicks,guitars or bow wow rans

others players to consider Paddy Canny,Tommy Reck, Seamus Connolly, Paddy Carty, Peter Carbury, Brendan McGlinchey,
Tommy Potts, FinbarrDwyer, Chris Droney.

Re: New or more obscure ITM bands/artists?

Don’t forget Mary Bergin, Robbie Hannan, Neil Mulligan, Padraic MacMathuna, Macdarra O’Rallaghaigh, Dan ar Bras, Mary Rafferty, and if you like O’Carolan played on the guitar, Stefan Grossman.

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Re: New or more obscure ITM bands/artists?

Try looking at Caladh Nua, Full Set, Dochas, Seudan and Gabe McVarish. Some Scottish, some Irish - all traceable via Google or MySpace.

Re: New or more obscure ITM bands/artists?

"Teada" - neither new, nor obscure, but they deserve to be better known. Same would apply to Harry Bradley, Steph Geremia, Edel Fox, Danny O’Mahoney, "The Raw Bar Collective", Desi Wilkinson & "Cran" "Fidil", "Cian" etc, etc. You’ll find recordings by all of these players listed in "The Recordings" section.

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Re: New or more obscure ITM bands/artists?

If you like Danu, try Donal Clancy’s "Close to Home".

Re: New or more obscure ITM bands/artists?

These are all well known within the Irish trad scene, but not much known outside it:

Danny Meehan (fiddle)
Brian Rooney (fiddle)
Gerry Harrington (fiddle)
Johnny Doran (pipes)
Harry Bradley (flute)
Denis Murphy & Julia Clifford (fiddles)
Mick O’Brien & Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh (pipes & fiddle)
Ronan Browne & Peadar O’Loughlin (pipes & fiddle)
Seamus Begley & Steve Cooney (accordion & guitar)
Micheál Ó Raghallaigh (concertina)
Eamonn Coyne (banjo)
Angelina Carberry & Martin Quinn (banjo & accordion)

I’ll also give a special mention to two Scots-born guitarists of Irish parents:

Tony McManus
Dick Gaughan - best known as a folk singer, but he made one excellent album, Coppers and Brass, entirely of Irish traditional tunes on guitar.

Re: New or more obscure ITM bands/artists?

Hi Jonathan,
I actually host a traditional music programme as well (Cork FM Community Radio, out of Cork City). Perhaps I could e-mail you directly and I could send you all my playlists for the past few months or so? I play pretty a pretty good variety, some very standard stuff, but a few lesser known archived recordings of older player as well (Padraig O’Keeffe, Elizabeth Cronin, etc).
Contact me anytime - Jessie

Re: New or more obscure ITM bands/artists?

Why stick to instrumental only? There are so many great singers and songs in Irish trad. You’re not representing the tradition in all its breadth and glory if you avoid singers.

m.d.

Re: New or more obscure ITM bands/artists?

Dick Gaughan - best known as a folk singer, but he made one excellent album, Coppers and Brass,* entirely of Irish traditional tunes* on guitar

Coppers and Brass / The Gander in the Pratie Hole
O’Keefe’s / The Foxhunter’s
The Flowing Tide / The Fairies’ Hornpipe
The Oak Tree / The Music in the Glen
Planxty Johnson
Gurty’s Frolics
The Spey in Spate / The Hurricane
Alan MacPherson of Mosspark / The Jig of Slurs
The Thrush in the Storm / The Flogging Reel
Ask My Father / Lads of Laoise / The Connaught Heifers
The Bird in the Bush / The Boy in the Gap / McMahon’s Reel
Strike the Gay Harp / Shores of Lough Gowna
Jack Broke the Prison Door / Donald Blue / Wha’ll Dance wi’ Wattie

I can identify three Scottish sets in there.

Re: New or more obscure ITM bands/artists?

Yes, at least nine of these tunes are Scottish

Re: New or more obscure ITM bands/artists?

If you count Shetland as Scottish!

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and Dick Gaughans parents weren’t Irish.

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As with McManus he had an Irish grandfather.

Re: New or more obscure ITM bands/artists?

His mother was from the Scottish Highlands and a Gaelic speaker but, of course, there’s a stong Irish connection.

On another point, I don’t understand what you have got against songs either. It’s a radio programme not a tune session.

Many of the great bands from The Bothies, Planxty, Altan, Dervish, though Danu feature songs and these are only the very obvious examples out there.

Re: New or more obscure ITM bands/artists?

"I can identify three Scottish sets in there."

"and Dick Gaughans parents weren’t Irish."

"As with McManus he had an Irish grandfather."

…and for the record, Planxty Johnson is an O’Carolan composition, which might be seen to compromise its ‘traditional’ status.

Yes - I should have done my homework. It doesn’t change the fact that it’s great music, though.

Re: New or more obscure ITM bands/artists?

Whilst we’re on the Scottish side of things, a couple of others you might like (as you’ll have gathered, I’m not as familiar with the Scottish scene as with the Irish, so by no means comprehensive):

Fred Morrison (Various pipes/whistles)
Anna Massie (guitar, mandolin, banjo)
Kevin McLeod (mandolin and other plectrum instruments)
Dagger Gordon (mandolin)

Re: New or more obscure ITM bands/artists?

…and Anna Massie plays the fiddle too.

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Already mentioned by Kenny, but I think Danny O’Mahony (box) deserves a lot more exposure than he’s getting. Also goes for Paudie O’Connor. IMHO they outrank a lot of much better known players.

Re: New or more obscure ITM bands/artists?

…and Kenny Forsyth (highland pipe tunes on whistle) - when the CD is completed.

Re: New or more obscure ITM bands/artists?

throw a few cape breton artists in there, and you’ll have a fine mix. of course, there are the big names, like natalie macmaster, buddy macmaster, jerry holland, but check out some other fantastic artists like andrea beaton, mike hall, troy macgillivray…technically not from CB, but antigonish is close enough, and many, many more! (take a look at capebretonlive.com for more artists)

Re: New or more obscure ITM bands/artists?

Thanks everyone for the many replies! While I know of some of the artists you’ve mentioned, many (most) of them are new to me so I’ve got a lot of leads to pursue!

@jcawley: Thanks for the offer, I’ll certainly be getting in touch.

@emmdee, John J.: It’s not that I dislike the singing style, but rather the subject matter of most folk songs, especially the typical Irish pub songs. There are plenty that I like, but those don’t usually seem to be the ones that get recorded all too often :(

@jsmith: I do play CB a fair bit, especially since I have Canadian Content requirements to adhere to. While I enjoy some of that music, I find that CB artists can often be somewhat hit-and-miss (just according to my musical preferences 🙂 )

Thanks again to everyone who replied - much appreciated!!

Re: New or more obscure ITM bands/artists?

Na Fir Bolg
Raw Bar Collective - Millhouse Measures
Antoin Mac Gabhann & Mick O’Connor - Doorways and Windowsills
Catherine McEvoy and the O Raghallaigh cousins - Comb your hair and curl it
Tom Anderson and Aly Bain - The Silver Bow

for starters

Re: New or more obscure ITM bands/artists?

The one name that jumps to my mind is a young fiddler called Dónal Mc Cague from Co. Monaghan. He has just released a new CD called Bits ‘n’ Pieces, and I can easily say that it is one of the most impressive debut albums I’ve heard in a while.

I’ve known Dónal since he was 5 years old, and have always been impressed by his musical appetite and ability.

Paul Bradley has said
"music played with the panache, elegance and drive of a bow with bite, imbued with a respect for the great fiddle masters whom he has studied meticulously and through which the rich and vibrant imagination of a young fiddle master of the future finds its own voice, shape and texture."

http://wwww.bitsnpieces2011.com

Re: New or more obscure ITM bands/artists?

For God’s sake, what is this nonsense?
"It’s not that I dislike the singing style, but rather the subject matter of most folk songs, especially the typical Irish pub songs. There are plenty that I like, but those don’t usually seem to be the ones that get recorded all too often"

"The subject matter of most folk songs"? You clearly know nothing about the Irish song tradition(s). For every human emotion and experience, there’s a song to match. If you had any nous at all, you would know better than to dismiss the whole shebang on the basis of "typical Irish pub songs" in the first place, and just avoid those songs.

Tell you what, if it’s inspiration you want then try some or all of these for starters
Len Graham, Jim McFarlane, Jackie Boyce, Cathal McConnell, Paddy Tunney, Mary Dillon, Sean Keane, Kevin Mitchell, Roisin White. For Irish language singers, try Lorcan MacMathuna, Joe Heaney, Darach O’Cathain.

You won’t find Danny Boy, The Wild Rover, or Whiskey in the Jar, and that’s the point. Don’t disdain the whole thing because of The Wolfe Tones, please…

m.d.

Re: New or more obscure ITM bands/artists?

Personally, I find Cape Breton music way more hit than miss, but I live here so I suppose I’m biased….anyway, strong recommendation for Beolach, some of the best of the younger CB musicians including Wendy MacIsaac, Mairi Rankin, Ryan J. MacNeil, Patrick Gillis ,and Mac Morin. Only two CD’s and they are all busy doing other things so they don’t play much together, but I caught them last summer and they were smoking.

Re: New or more obscure ITM bands/artists?

NicGaviskey
Bua
Slide

Are all fairly new and play some great jigs and reels…especially NicGaviskey.

Re: New or more obscure ITM bands/artists?

"I do play CB a fair bit, especially since I have Canadian Content requirements to adhere to. While I enjoy some of that music, I find that CB artists can often be somewhat hit-and-miss (just according to my musical preferences)…"

Ohmagawd. I remember Figgy Duff. They were probably OK really but over my tranny they did seem a bit hand-knitted.

But I thought Cape Breton players were the aristos of Canada’s Anglo-Celtic musical thing. I would hate to think they were hand-knitted too.

Re: New or more obscure ITM bands/artists?

@ScoilCheoilnaBotha I was listening to some tracks from Dónal Mc Cague’s album yesterday after houlberg’s suggestion and I agree that it sounds great!

@emmdee okay, okay, I guess I worded that wrong. I know that there are plenty of Irish folk songs other than the "pub songs" that I was referring to, and I DO play some songs (e.g. The Last Rose of Summer 2 weeks ago and Bohola’s Lonesome Robin coming up). So it’s not a disdain for folk songs but rather a dislike of what many people might associate with the Irish folk song genre (e.g. typical The Irish Rovers or The Dubliners). "Most folk songs" was the wrong terminology. And yes, I am in need of inspiration in this area, so thanks for the suggestions 🙂

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Cool, Jon. Maybe I did bite yer head off just a wee bit…
m.d.

Re: New or more obscure ITM bands/artists?

You could try some Northumbrian music. Like, say, Shetland music, it is at a bit of a remove from Irish music in its repertoire and characteristics, but is nonetheless instantly recognisable by its rhythms, tempi, instrumentation etc. as being a co-member of the family of ‘diddly music’ / ‘ceilidh music’, and thereby somehow familiar.

I can recommend these albums:

Kathryn Tickell Band, "Instrumental";
Alistair Anderson, "Steel Skies";
Willy Taylor, Joe Hutton, Will Atkinson, "Harthope Burn".

Of course there’s plenty else, but I thought to be brief.

"Instrumental" is probably the easiest to obtain of these, being the most recently issued.

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@nico:

Really good clips! Especially (IMO) the jigs.

Re: New or more obscure ITM bands/artists?

To help with your Canadian Content side of the ledger:

Québec:
André Brunet; Les Frères Brunet; Brunet & Beaudry; De Temps Antan; André Alain; André Marchand, Lisa Ornstein, Normand Miron (in any group or combination); Éric & Simon Beaudry; Claude Méthé; Dent-de-lion; Daniel & Louis-Simon Lemieux; Manigance; Duo Duval Boulanger; Entourloupe; Éric Favreau; Excés de trad; Nicolas Pellerin; Genticorum; La Bottine Souriante; Le Vent du Nord; Les Charbonniers de l’enfer; Les Langues Fourchues; Les Mononcles; MAZ; Ni Sarpe ni Branche; Nicolas Boulerice; Norouet; Ojnab; Raz-de-marée; Réveillons; Crowfoot; Domino; Les poules à Colin; Nicholas Williams;

Ontario:
Brian Pickell Band; Shane Cook; James Stephens; JIIG; Chulrua; Loretto Reid; Brian Taheny;

Not Canadien, but still awesome:
From New England/New York - Nightingale; Wild Asparagus; Sarah Blair; Becky Tracy; Keith Murphy; Cantrip; Clayfoot Strutters; Elixir; Magic Foot; Pete Sutherland; The Sevens; Tony DeMarco; Brian Conway