FolkWorld CD Reviews
"Moher "Over The Edge"
Label: KRL/Lochshore Records; CDLDL 1282 ; Spielzeit: 49:35 min
After a long time the second album by the Clare based top band Moher, which had a nice debut album a couple of years ago. And now Micheal Queally (fiddle), Noel O’Donoghue (flute), Pat Marsh (bouzouki) and Paul O’Driscoll are back, joined now by Liam Murphy (guitar & vocals) and John Moloney (bodhr
Michael Queally (fiddle) comes from Inagh Co.Clare and is the fiddle player with the group. In the past Inagh has had strong links with traditional music producing other fine musicians such as Joe Ryan and Garrett Barry. This tradition is also reflected in Michael’s fiddle playing. To date he has recorded four albums, one with a renowned dance band called the Gold Ring Ceili band, two with Moher, and a solo CD released in 1997. The Gold Ring Ceili band had an enormous impact on the Irish Dancing scene since they started out in 1989.
Noel 0’Donoghue (flute) comes from Kilfenora in West Clare, the "home" many believe of Irish music. Noel learnt most of his music from the wealth of older musicians around the area, none more famous than the late Micko Russell of Doolin. Noel, and indeed the other musicians mentioned, play and enchant people from all over the world in Doolin every year. Noel with Michael founded the "Gold Ring Ceili Band", and has an enormous wealth of tunes.
Pat Marsh (bouzouki, guitar), joins Michael and Noel in this fabulous album. Pat comes from a great musical family in another area where music is very prominent- Broadford in East Clare. Pat has toured in Germany, Belgium and England. Pat also plays with a group from Northem Ireland called "Up stairs in a Tent" a Cork based band "Calico" and the "Josephine Marsh Band"to mention a few.
Paul 0’Driscoll (acoustic bass guitar, double bass, vocals) comes from Birmingham originally and had lived in Dublin for a number of years before moving to Clare in 1993. Paul plays with "Deiseal", a group who have achieved considerable success since their formation in 1992. Paul recorded two albums with this group. He has also recorded with "Calico" and played with Riverdance.
Liam Murphy (acoustic guitar, vocals) comes from Ennis, Co. Clare. Liam lived in America for a number of years where he played with musicians such as Eileen Ivers, Joanie Madden. Martin Hayes and a dance band called the Irish Brigade. He recorded a very successful album with this band before returning to Ennis six years ago.
John Moloney (Bodhran) comes from 0’Callaghan’s Mills in East Clare. He has been playing with Moher since 1994. John is a well respected bodhran player in the Clare traditional circuit and he has featured on a number of albums including Grianan, The Maiden Voyage and also with Clare Radio’s The Humours of Clare.
Moher are a six piece traditional Irish Music band who were formed underneath the towering Cliffs of Moher a short number of years ago by two of North Clare’s finest musicians. Flute player Noel O’ Donoghue from Kilfenora and fiddle player Michael Queally from the nearby village of Inagh started playing as a duet almost twelve years ago. Their fiery brand of traditional music has warmed many a heart in North Clare and beyond and their reputation spread out from the weekly sessions in Doolin, Lisdoonvarna and Ennis. The duet was invited to the prestigious Dranouter Folk Festival and shortly after they released their first album, Out on the Ocean, to wonderful enthusiasm. The line-up has been expanded since to include Co. Clare musicians Pat Marsh on bouzouki, John Moloney on bodhran and Liam Murphy on guitar & vocals and the whole sound is given a new dimension by Paul O’ Driscoll on double bass. Moher play a type of traditional music that is as old as the cliffs themselves. Their tunes and songs are drawn from the endless well of music from North Clare yet Moher breathe new life, freshness and vitality into them. Their albums are a must for any serious lover of Irish traditional music.
Over the Edge
One of my favourite spots in the world is the magnificent Cliffs of Moher, a rugged vista carved out of the west coast of Ireland near the tiny, very musical town of Doolin.
So when I hear of a band called Moher, with an album called Over the Edge, no less, I had to give it a listen. Surprise, the cover shows the Moher boys perched on the edge of those famous cliffs (I wonder if the photographer asked them to "step back just a few paces" like my father did on my first visit there) with the sun scant inches from vanishing on the purple horizon beyond the Aran Islands. On the back, they’re gathered ‘round a pub table (probably O’Connor’s, on the west end of town) in full session swing.
The six musicians comprising Moher mostly hail from County Clare, and several cut their teeth playing sessions in Doolin’s pubs. That’s probably why I enjoyed the album so much; for nearly an hour, I was back in Doolin, protecting my pint from jostling elbows as people tried to get closer to the circle of musicians who’d wandered in as evening fell to play the evening away.
Largely instrumental, the album is without frills or frippery. There’s no attempt to redefine the music or do something new or original with it. Rather, it’s a homage to the traditions which made Irish music into the cultural wave it is today.
Most of the album is filled with sets of jigs and reels, with an occasional hornpipe, waltz and set-dance included for measure. The Moher lads likely played their share of small-town dances, and this is the stuff that would have kept the townsfolk happy.
Guitarist Liam Murphy, who provides vocals on two songs, "Bonnie Irish Maid" and "Donal Og," has a voice which would sound very in place at the end of a bar or at at a Guinness-stained table in the corner. Would itsound right in a packed stadium or concert hall? Probably not. But who cares?
Likewise the musicians. Noel O’Donoghue (flute and whistle), Michael Queally (fiddle), Pat Marsh (bouzouki), Paul O’Driscoll (double bass) and John Moloney (bodhran) are all talented players who make the music soar without trying to upstage or overshadow each other. If you’re planning a session at you’re local pub, these are the kind of musicians you want to attract.
Moher doesn’t have anything particularly new to say with their music. They are unpretentious enough that they don’t even try. It’s the tradition they grew up with, and they maintain it comfortably and well.
Invite over some friends, pour a few pints and plunk this in the stereo. You’ll pass a fine evening.
[ by Tom Knapp ]
are these 2 records by Moher still available?
There are new and secondhand copies of this album available here - http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_2?url=search-alias%3Dpopular&field-keywords=moher.
The ‘Out on the Ocean’ CD was released by the long defunct Cross Border Media label. The only copy I could find from a quick search was here - http://www.amazon.de/Out-Ocean-UK-Import-Moher/dp/B000024FM9 - and the price is ridiculous.
seems it was a little bit cheaper secondhand (gebraucht on amazon.de..)…
The Gan Ainm on track 12 is The Noisy Curlew https://thesession.org/tunes/1432