This certainly won’t be everybody’s cup of tea (or tae) since the album was recorded with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra.
I’m certainly hoping that my pre-released copy isn’t the final version since it consists of the disc in a gatefold card sleeve which provides just a track-listing, personnel details (interestingly, Dáithí Sproule isn’t present), acknowledgments and thanks. Even the identity of the issuing record label is absent.
Worryingly, the making of the recording has received support from both Foras na Gaeilge and Ireland’s Arts Council - there must be many musicians less affluent than Altan’s members who would have been more deserving of these bodies’ support.
Pretty much since the beginning of Altan, Daithi Sproule has been their guitarist for North American gigs and Mark Kelly has filled that role for European gigs. This is because Daithi has lived for all those years in America while Mark lives in Ireland. There have though been some occasions when Mark toured with them in America and Daithi toured with them in Europe, and on most if not all their recordings they’ve found a way to include both guitar players. But if this latest recording was made with the RTE Concert Orchestra, it’s almost certain to have been done in Ireland. So I wouldn’t read anything untoward into Daithi’s absence from it. Chances are he was just not able to get over to Ireland when the recording was being made.
Sorry, John, but I find it a little bit odd that Dáithí’s name is buried in the second line of the acknowledgments in what is supposed to be a celebratory album.