Trad Connect (Tony Lawless) www.tradconnect.com
Nights in Shanaglish continues a recent trend of live recordings that take place in non studio environments such as kitchens, churches and village halls. Ideas that have germinated in the minds of musicians over a quiet pint or phone conversation finally take shape and come to fruition. This is one such idea, and what an inspired one it is. The idea of live music from a well known pub is not so new. However in this instance the musicians involved have sought to really capture the essence of a live session, portraying as it does rural life in Ireland. For anyone that has been to one of these more rounded sessions you will know that they are not simply gatherings of purists playing only traditional music. The best ones incorporate a lot more. Their guiding ethos is one of raw, down to earth traditional Irish music, songs, stories and recitations.
Nights in Shanaglish also steps beyond the simple CD format and is a full multimedia project which consists of a gatefold vinyl, a DVD documentary on local history and folklore, interviews with local people, footage of the natural landscape as well as the live recording in action. The idea came from Vincey Keehan and Paddy Egan, regulars at the sessions in Whelan's Pub in Shanaglish, south Galway where the recording took place. It is therefore a community project involving many local people from south Galway and north Clare and has been independently directed and produced by Vincey and Paddy.
As to the outcome of this little endeavor, don't be fooled by any strap lines that read live or community. This is a recording that breaths life and soul into the music and it sounds as authentic as you will get. It is an acoustically atmospheric album that leaves you with the feeling of being there in the room with the performers. Musically the concertina playing of Paddy Egan is a standout feature, and in addition there are songs and tales that you will not have heard before. The Argentina Song for example with a short introduction. You also get the input of local characters with their own take on village life through the medium of stories and yarns. The inclusion of these tracks gives the recording a more honest account of what a real session evening is like. Unaccompanied songs like Milltown To Coruna, a lilt called The Drunken Landlady and much more. It has it all.
Performers include Susan Fogarty (fiddle), Séamus Keehan (whistle), Niall Finnegan (guitar and vocals), Anthony McGrath (guitar and vocals), Joe Kearney (vocals), Paddy Egan (concertina and dance), Vincey Keehan (guitar, mandolin, vocals, and lilting), Colie Moran (banjo), Brian O'Halloran (vocals), Mary Noonan (vocals), Rosie Keehan (vocals) and Paul O'Driscoll (double bass).
This is a recording the likes of which you will not have heard in quite some time. It captures every facet of session life in rural Ireland with some great music and songs both from the tradition and from other genres. Add in some stories and some colourful characters and you start to get the picture. The recording itself is of superior quality and as a concept it may very well set in train a series of similar undertakings by others. We have only listened to the media files and on the basis of that we would have no hesitation in recommending it.