The Coast Road
Karen Ryan
CICD 188

   











Track Listing:

01. REELS: The Limerick Lasses / The Gatehouse Maid / The Mountain Top 3.05
02. JIGS: Kitty's Rambles / Kitty of Oulart / An Rogaire Dubh 4.241
03. HORNPIPES: Plains of Boyle / McGlinchey's / Walsh's 4.49
04. POLKAS: Dan Herlihy's / Tom Billy's 2.41
05. AIR: Sliabh Geal gCua 3.31
06. REELS: Sally Gardens / Miss McLoud's / Tommy Maguire's 4.301
07. JIGS: Kiss The Bride / Shandon Bells 2.48
08. REELS: Mrs Lawrie's / Karen Ryan's 4.09)
09. JIGS: Dr O'Neill's / Saddlle The Pony 4.121
10. SLIP JIGS: The Gathering / Liverpool to London / The New Piano 3.33
11. REELS: The Swallow's Tail / The Sunny Banks / The London Lasses 3.17
12. SONG: An Draighnean Donn 5.50
13. WALTZ AND REEL: Tim O'Leary's / The Rabbit's Burrow 4.04
14. JIGS: Going to Mass Last Sunday / The Gold Ring / The Battering Ram 5.12
15. REELS: Galway Reel / The Musical Priest / The Sailor on the Rock 2.54

Click on underlined titles to hear MP3 sound samples.

We are delighted to announce our release of this brilliant CD.

The Coast Road
Karen Ryan
CICD 188
with Pete Quinn (piano)

& special guests
Conor Doherty (guitar)
Gary Connolly (accordion)
Coleman Connolly (uilleann pipes)
Teresa Connolly (fiddle)
Elanie Conwell (fiddle)
Nancy McEvaddy (vocals)

The Coast Road
Debut solo album from Karen Ryan Released on the Clo-Iar Chonnacht label The long-awaited solo album, The Coast Road, by highly-regarded fiddler, music teacher and promoter of traditional Irish music, Karen Ryan, founder-member of the renowned traditional Irish music group, The London Lasses and Pete Quinn.

A musician, teacher and promoter, it would be no exaggeration to say that Karen Ryan lives and breathes traditional Irish music. Born in London to Galway and Mayo parents, it was a strong Connemara tradition of melodeon players and traditional singers on her mother's side that initially fired her love of the music.

Karen started playing music at the age of nine, taught by the North Leitrim musician Tommy Maguire at the London Irish Centre, where she herself now teaches. It was here that she met lifelong friends and fellow fiddle players, Elaine Conwell and Teresa Connolly (nee Heanue), with whom she won the under 12 Trio competition at the All-Ireland Fleadhin 1985.

Karen was fortunate to hone her musical skills through playing with a vast array of musicians in the vibrant London Irish session scene and during frequent visits to musical gatherings in Ireland and the US. Whilst gleaning much from all these players she cites Brian Rooney, Brendan McGlinchey, Danny Meehan and the recordings of Andy McGann as having the most influence on her fiddle playing.

As a founder member of the renowned traditional Irish six-piece, The London Lasses and Pete Quinn, Karen has performed at some of the world's most prestigious festivals and concert halls, including the Royal Albert Hall, where the band performed the first ever BBC Proms ceili in 2008. The band have recorded four albums to date.

Whether as a teacher with Meitheal Cheoil in north London, a workshop leader or an adjudicator both in the UK and overseas, Karen continues to pass on the tradition to both young and old.

Also available from Copperplate, featuring Karen Ryan:
LL001 London Lasses & Pete Quinn
LL002 London Lasses: Track Across the Deep
LoLa004 London Lasses: Enchanted Lady
LoLa005 London Lasses: By Night & By Day

Tour Dates & Launches Karen and guests will be on tour in March & April to promote the new album. Dates will be announced shortly. Visit Karen's website soon for full details. www.karenryan.net


London Album Launch
Sat 31st March 2012
The Forge, 3-7, Delancy St, Camden Town, London NW1 7NL TEL 0207 3837808
7.30 PM Entry free.



Karen Ryan of 'The London Lasses & Pete Quinn' will be touring Ireland from Monday 9th of April until Friday, the 13th of April, to launch her début solo album,
The Coast Road.
She will be accompanied by Pete Quinn (keyboard) and joined by special guest Gary Connolly (accordion) at all of these performances.
Karen will also be joined by additional special guests in The Crane Bar in Galway on Friday, 13th April.

Dublin
Monday 9th April (Easter Monday), 9pm, Harcourt Sessions, (session- free entry) Harcourt Hotel, 60 Harcourt Street, Dublin 2 www.harcourthotel.ie

Kerry
Tuesday 10th April, 9pm, O'Sullivan's Courthouse,(performance followed by session - free entry) The Mall, Dingle Co. Kerry www.osullivanscourthousepub.com

Clare
Wednesday 11th April, 8.30pm, Peppers,(performance followed by session - free entry) Feakle, Co. Clare. www.peppersoffeakle.com

Leitrim
Thursday 12th April, Cryan's, 8.30pm (performance followed by session - free entry) Carrick on Shannon, Co. Leitrim www.cryanshotel.ie/cryans-bar-2

Galway
Friday 13th April, The Crane, 9.30pm, (performance followed by session - free entry), Sea Road, Galway City www.thecranebar.com ( Karen will also also joined by Elaine Conwell and Teresa Connolly (fiddles) on this night).

for more information about Karen Ryan and upcoming tour dates, please visit www.karenryan.net.


Press Reviews


www.liveireland.com Margeson on the Music Oct 12
The Coast Road is just out on Clo-iar-Chonnachta. Veteran fiddle goddess Karen Ryan is brilliant. Never mind her work with our music's best female group, The London Lasses (sorry, Pete!), she is a master. As good as any, we reckon. Stunning playing from a real musician. All 15 selections are instrumentals. While the album favors the jigs and reels, all tempos and time signatures are brought to the fore. We love it. Every cut. This woman is a real presence and a true musician on the scene. As she is one of the folks in charge of the wonderful Return to Camden Town annual festival, we have a recommendation. Book yourself immediately! This is a great album and she is immediately in contention as the Female Musician of the Year. Lovely, altogether. Bill Margeson.


The Living Tradition
London's vibrant Irish community has, amongst many other things, evolved a style of traditional music, and particularly fiddle music, which is as identifiable as any of the major styles on the other side of the water. Karen Ryan perfectly represents this tradition, being born in London to Galway and Mayo parents and starting to play at the age of nine. She now teaches at the London Irish Centre, is a founder-member of the celebrated London Lasses and directs the Return to Camden Town traditional festival.
Accompanied here by partner Pete Quinn on piano and keyboard; Conor Doherty, guitar; Gary Connolly, accordion; Elaine Conwell, fiddle, Teresa Connolly, fiddle, Colman Connolly, uilleann pipes; and her aunt Nancy McEvaddy on vocals, Karen plays mostly fiddle, but with whistle and banjo as well.
She has a very clear playing style, which is well demonstrated in the slow air, where she lets the tune take its own time, keeping everything nicely balanced. When things speed up a bit in the jigs and reels, however, there's no dropping off - each note is well-defined, with a crispness and deftness of touch making for a rare listening experience.
Pete Quinn should also get a specific mention for his piano arrangements - not for him the plodding thump that can mar so many otherwise good sets, rather a well thought-out and sensitive range of slightly understated playing, which reminds us what the word "accompany" really means.
As I've come to expect from Clo lar-Chonnacht, this is an extremely well-packaged CD, with bilingual notes and information on all the tunes and a transcription of the macaronic song.
Well worth a listen! Gordon Potter


R2
Few musicians have been as indefatigable in championing the cause of Irish traditional music in London as Karen Ryan. As part of the group London Lasses and organiser of the Camden Irish music festival she has worked tirelessly to disseminate the music to her contemporaries, aspiring players and audiences alike.

Her first sob album, The Coast Road is dedicated to her father Michael Ryan "for loving the music so much that you did everything to help me love it too" Touching but true, for this is music that is as much about family and tradition as it is musical education.

Karen honed her fiddle skills in Irish music sessions in London and Ireland, it was her own family's ability to transmit this music to a new generation that provived her with that first real spark of creativity. Accompanied mainly on piano by Pete Quinn, Karen plays reels, jigs, polkas, hornpipes, a waltz and one song, 'An Draighnean Donn', sung in a disarming fashion by her aunt, Nancy McEvaddy. There are contributions from life-tang friends and fiddlers Elaine Conwell (London Lasses) and Teresa Connolly plus others, but it is Ryan's album and her playing shines brightly throughout. John Crosby

www.tradconnect.com Album of the Month July 12
London based musician Karen Ryan is the latest in a long line of London Irish fiddlers and on this her debut album she steps very comfortably into the shoes of those that have gone before. Musician, teacher and promoter Karen is well known and established on the London scene both at sessions and as a founding member of The London Lasses and Pete Quinn. More so than any city, London is a place where the big players come out to play and I did have the pleasure some years ago in some long forgotten venue to hear Karen. No doubt in the company of Brian Rooney, Brendan Mulkaire or the crop of great talent that was coming through all those years ago. Players like Lamond Gillespie and John Blake who have since gone on to great things.

Karen Ryan is another name that rightly deserves to be heard and The Coast Road is an absolute joy of an album. Karen's style is strongly traditional, very expressive and true to those musicians that have inspired her. It's a classic recording that harks back to her early musical influences. This includes Tommy Maguire, Brendan McGlinchey, Andy McGann and others, and there are echoes of their contribution within the heart of her very own style. For those reasons there is a breath of traditional fresh air in the tracks she has recorded. This is exciting, passionate and driving fiddle playing inspired by a lifetime of music. When slowed down to simple solid tunes there is nothing quite like it, especially on jigs like Kitty's Rambles/Kitty of Oulart/An Rógaire Dubh. Some of the best fiddle music has always had a strong, solid and uncomplicated vein running through it and Karen Ryan excels in this respect.

Included in the tracks is the magnificent hornpipe called McGlinchey's which I haven't heard for some time. A classic tune that Karen twists and turns with triplets and rolls that display the scale of the tune from low A and on up to the top of the scale. Her tone, control and phrasing is exemplary and always does justice to the music that she is playing. Even her one set of Polkas on the album, Dan Herlihy's/Tom Billy's, jump to life with superb accompaniment by Pete Quinn on Piano and Conor Doherty on Guitar. In addition to these fine musicians she has also brought on board long term fiddle friends Elaine Conwell and Treasa Connolly as well as Gary Connolly on Accordion and Nancy McEvaddy on voice.

The first set, The Limerick Lasses/The Gatehouse Maid/The Mountain Top is a great opener with its driving rhythm and strong piano accompaniment. The reel set Sally Gardens/Miss McCloud's/Tommy Maguire's pick up the pace. Karen and Pete Quinn called them the "Black Horse Anthem" as a result of repeated requests at a session in the Black Horse in London. The last in the set is a great Charlie Lennon composition. Karen also displays her banjo skills on a couple of jigs called Kiss The Bride/Shandon Bells. As a fan of Brendan McGlinchey, a set of reels composed by Brendan deserves mention. Called Mrs Lawrie's/Karen Ryan's the latter was written for Karen by Brendan some years back. It has all the hallmarks of Brendan and the piano accompaniment by Pete Quinn is simply untouchable with it's phrasing and tone.

Fiddle music in all it's forms has a place, be it with more modern influences, newly composed or with elements external to the tradition. This is music that will not disappoint and is most definitely traditional with a capital T. On a kitchen shelf bursting with great fiddle albums by Peoples, Carty, McGlinchley, Collins and dozens more this Karen Ryan album will also now sit proudly putting London and Karen on the map when it comes to touching the heart of traditional brilliance.


The Folk Diary
That the London Irish fiddler, some time visitor to Sussex folk clubs, should turn up on that most respected and highly regarded of Irish labels comes as something of a surprise. Most on this label are from rural Ireland but as a great deal of superb Irish music is played in north London, and has been for decades, there is no reason why Karen should not be represented along with her pianist partner
Most of her previous recordings have been as part of the excellent London Lasses, but the extra focus given by this album shows just what a fine fiddler she is. She has a wide and varied repertoire and the album is given extra interest when she occasionally changes to banjo or whistle and towards the end of the album she broadens the scope by introducing friends and relatives that have played with her since childhood. Ringing endorsements from the likes of Danny Meehan and Brendan McGlinchey in the booklet show just how much Karen is respected in Irish music circles - as teacher, promoter and organiser as well as musician. Vic Smith


www.LiveIreland.com

Karen Ryan is part of the best female group in the business, The London Lasses. Her new solo album with Pete Quinn is “The Coast Road.” We know it is available through Alan O’Leary at Copperplate in London. Karen is such a wonderful fiddle player, and this album immediately nominates her for Female Musician of the Year. She has a lot of tasty guest musicians in, but it is her playing alone that transcends all. This is a very, very exciting album. This woman can play, and look; we know that Pete Quinn is also in the group, The London Lasses, but he is vastly outnumbered, the lucky dog! One of our favorite groups meets one of our favorite fiddle players (Karen) and here we are on The Coast Road” and you should take the trip, also. It is a beautiful journey.


The Journal of Music: The Arts Council / An Chomhairle Ealaion

An Album of Tribute from Karen Ryan

Being dedicated to her father, Michael Ryan (‘for loving the music so much that you did everything possible to help me love it too’), and featuring so many tunes Ryan learned from Tommy Maguire in the London Irish Centre, this is clearly a recording with a strong sense of tribute at its heart.

London fiddle player Karen Ryan has released her first solo album, the Coast Road, featuring Pete Quinn on piano, published by Cló Iar-Chonnacht. Ryan is a founder member of the London Lasses and Pete Quinn group (who have recorded four albums to date), as well as a much sought-after workshop teacher and music promoter.

She started playing music when she was nine years old, taught by the Leitrim musician Tommy Maguire at the London Irish Centre, where she herself now teaches. It was here that she met life-long friends and fellow fiddle players, Elaine Conwell and Teresa Connolly (née Heanue), with whom she won the under-12 trio competition at the All-Ireland Fleadh in 1985.

While being very active in the London Irish session scene and festival and Fleadh circuit, as well as visiting Conamara regularly, she cites in particular Brian Rooney, Brendan McGlinchey, Danny Meehan and the recordings of Andy McGann as having the most influence on her fiddle playing.

Through her role as Director of the Return to Camden Town festival of traditional Irish music, song and dance, she is also an award-winning promoter. Now in its fourteenth year, the festival has become a key date in the Irish music calendar and celebrates the historical link between Camden and traditional Irish music.

Most of the tracks on the Coast Road feature Ryan on fiddle accompanied by Quinn on piano or keyboard, although Ryan plays banjo on the jig set of ‘Kiss the Bride’ and ‘Shandon Bells’, and whistle on the reel set of ‘The Swallow’s Tail’, ‘The Sunny Banks’ and ‘The London Lasses’. For some tracks they are joined by Conor Doherty on guitar. On the waltz-reel set featuring ‘Tim O’Leary’s’ and ‘The Rabbit’s Burrow’ she plays with fiddlers Elaine Conwell (of the London Lasses) and friend Teresa Connolly. And for the jig set of ‘Going to Mass Last Sunday’, ‘The Gold Ring’ and ‘The Battering Ram’ she plays with Gary Connolly on accordion and Colman Connolly on uilleann pipes. Ryan plays one slow air, ‘Sliabh Geal gCua’, which she writes that she learnt from Séamus Begley’s singing; and there is one song on the album, ‘An Draighneán Donn’, sung very naturally and gently by Ryan’s aunt, Nancy McEvaddy of Claregalway.

The twenty-two pages of sleeve notes include a short biographical note on Ryan, comments on her playing by Danny Meehan, Brian Rooney and Brendan McGlinchey, Irish and English versions of all the extensive track notes, and a wide range of photographs of Ryan, of instrument details and of family and friends.

Being dedicated to her father, Michael Ryan (‘for loving the music so much that you did everything possible to help me love it too’), and featuring so many tunes Ryan learned from Maguire, this is clearly a recording with a strong sense of tribute at its heart.

The Folk Diary
That the London Irish fiddler, some time visitor to Sussex folk clubs, should turn up on that most respected and highly regarded of Irish labels comes as something of a surprise. Most on this label are from rural Ireland but as a great deal of superb Irish music is played in north London, and has been for decades, there is no reason why Karen should not be represented along with her pianist partner
Most of her previous recordings have been as part of the excellent London Lasses, but the extra focus given by this album shows just what a fine fiddler she is. She has a wide and varied repertoire and the album is given extra interest when she occasionally changes to banjo or whistle and towards the end of the album she broadens the scope by introducing friends and relatives that have played with her since childhood.
Ringing endorsements from the likes of Danny Meehan and Brendan McGlinchey in the booklet show just how much Karen is respected in Irish music circles - as teacher, promoter and organiser as well as musician. Vic Smith


Irish Music Magazine
Of Galway and Mayo parents but born and reared in London, Karen Ryan has been a mainstay of Irish music in the province of Great Britain for longer than her youthful looks would suggest. Whether founding The London Lasses a decade ago, running the Camden Town festival, leading the young Trad Gathering ensemble, or just teaching and playing in sessions across North London, Karen’s unruly hair and restless feet have featured in most aspects of the musical life of London’s Irish community. Although best–known as a fiddler, Karen also plays banjo and whistle on this debut solo recording – no sign of the mandola she’s been toting at recent gigs. Several members of the London Irish scene drop in for a tune on The Coast Road, but most tracks are just Karen and her ivory–tickling husband Pete Quinn.
Every set comes with a story: the sparkling Limerick Lasses learnt from Leitrim man Tommy Maguire in the eighties, or the sprightly version of Saddle the Pony from her grandma’s melodeon days. Karen’s repertoire includes all the old favourites, and she isn’t afraid to play them. The Sally Gardens, Shandon Bells, Miss MacLeod’s, The Battering Ram, Trans–Roscommon Airways and The Musical Priest, great tunes all, are trotted out in fine form here. There are rarer delights too, Kitty of Oulart and Walsh’s Hornpipe among them. Brendan McGlinchey’s distinctive dark style is beautifully demonstrated on his reels Mrs Lawrie’s and Karen Ryan’s, while Karen’s own composing gift gives us three flowing slip–jigs. The final few tracks ring the changes with a sean nos song from Nancy McEvaddy, a fiddle trio waltz, and a set of céilí jigs featuring pipes and accordion, before the final big set of reels on fiddle and piano.
The Coast Road combines the best of old and new music, the antique gold of An Roghaire Dubh and Sliabh Geal gCua alongside a bit of bling and skank on Dan Herlihy’s Polka. This mix and match approach also applies to the glossy sleeve notes, which add photos and fancy graphics to the trusty old way of listing the names and composers. It seems Karen can put her own sheen on more than just the music. Livelier than a Camden pub on Paddy’s Night, and more full of Irish spirit than the off–licence across the street, this is a cracking new album. Alex Monaghan


www.folking.com
This is the kind of recording that harks back to the old days of "Paddy In The Smoke" and Danny 'Concrete Fingers' Meehan playing at The Favourite. Possibly aimed at a more traditionally biased audience Ryan's style of fiddle playing (sometimes opening with the predominantly two chord piano introduction so beloved of Irish set dancers everywhere provided by long term associate Pete Quinn) will give some indication to those like myself who used to sit at the altar of the likes of Raymond Rowland, Liam Farrell and John Bowe. There are plenty of great standards including "Sally Gardens", "Miss McCloud's" and "Saddle The Pony" but it's Karen's beautifully fluid whistle playing on "The Swallow's Tail/The Sunny Banks/The London Lasses" set that does it for me. This may not be a rip-roaring album or one that's trying to be 'different' but if its rock solid performances of some excellent tunes you're looking for I'd suggest you check it out. PETE FYFE


www.musicaltraditions.com

Clo Iar Chonnacht have a reputation for releasing quality Irish traditional music CDs and this one is no exception. It's a thoroughly enjoyable recording. There is a mix of mainly reels and jigs, but with a hornpipe, a couple of polkas, a waltz, a slow air and a song. There is also a variety of ensembles, duets and some group playing so that the CD gives the impression of listening in to a high quality session.

Fiddle player Karen Ryan is well embedded into the trad Irish scene in London. A founder member of the London Lasses and Pete Quinn, she teaches, judges and also organises the Return to Camden Festival. Although from London, Karen Ryan's parents are both from West Ireland and she has inherited the traditions of Connemara from her Mother's side of the family. Some of the music was recorded on a trip back home with her relatives in Galway.

Her fiddle playing is confident, energetic and expressive and she puts in some interesting twists and turns into the tunes which are mainly well known favourites. Ryan takes one track on the tin whistle and is also a handy banjo player, though not to the same standard as her fiddling and it sounds as if she has twisted the setting of Shandon Bells to fit more comfortably under her fingers. Overall there is plenty of evidence of her London heritage in hints of the fierce drive of Danny Meehan mixed with Brian Rooney's creativeness. The sleeve notes mention the influence of New York's Andy McGann but her tone is quite different to McGann's so it's not so easy to hear him in her playing

The CD starts with a real swing with three duets from fiddle and piano; reels followed by jigs, then hornpipes, showcasing Karen's vigorous fiddle playing and Pete Quinn's excellent accompaniment and the opening track is certainly strong enough to pull anybody into wanting to hear more. There's a bit of a dip in the next track of polkas which seemed both geographically and musically out of place here. They just seemed too long and repetitive and just don't have the Sliabh Luachra style to make this a good track. By contrast, the slow air, the song tune Sliabh Geal cCua, learned from Kerryman Seamus Begley, is beautiful and tender, and not overworked demonstrating Karen's sense of musical integrity. Karen's Auntie Nancie's song An Draighnean Donn is delicate and captivating. The CD finished very strongly with a final set of reels from fiddle and piano.

It is obvious Karen and Pete enjoy the music and have the depth of skill to let the music speak for itself and for the most part the recording is clean and straight, without tricks, too much 'drip', or over arrangement. There's no sense that the players are stretched or 'performing' to a crowd, the music is always centre stage and is just gorgeous for that. It takes a lot of sensitivity and understanding to take old tunes like Miss McLeod's (here interestingly titled Miss McCloud's) or The Lady on the Island and make then sound new and vital. Karen deserves a lot of credit for the way the choice of tunes on this record reinforce the impression that this is a few friends playing for an intimate circle.

The CD is well produced, the piano might be a bit too high in the mix for some and the squeak of fingers on guitar strings is a personal dislike, but these are minor niggles. The sleeve notes give just enough information about sources and influences to introduce Karen to those who don't know her as a solo player.

This CD should give pleasure to enthusiasts and casual listeners alike, and there's a lot of depth that will reward repeated listening. Ken Ricketts & Marya Parker - 5.4.12


Rock solid performances of some excellent tunes

This is the kind of recording that harks back to the old days of "Paddy In The Smoke" and Danny ‘Concrete Fingers' Meehan playing at The Favourite. Possibly aimed at a more traditionally biased audience Ryan's style of fiddle playing (sometimes opening with the predominantly two chord piano introduction so beloved of Irish set dancers everywhere provided by long term associate Pete Quinn) will give some indication to those like myself who used to sit at the altar of the likes of Raymond Rowland, Liam Farrell and John Bowe. There are plenty of great standards including "Sally Gardens", "Miss McCloud's" and "Saddle The Pony" but it's Karen's beautifully fluid whistle playing on "The Swallow's Tail/The Sunny Banks/The London Lasses" set that does it for me. This may not be a rip-roaring album or one that's trying to be ‘different' but if its rock solid performances of some excellent tunes you're looking for I'd suggest you check it out. PETE FYFE13/03/2012