EUSKElREA - O'EUSKADI GO EIRINN
THE BASQUE IRISH CONNECTION
1. Waltz Mary Ellen/Ametsera Estatu. (Waltzes/Fandango)
2. Lurraren Negarra/ The Shetland Fiddler. (Porrusalda/Reel)
3. Johnny O'Leary's/ An Choisir/ Lios Ui Bhigin/The Hare in the Corn. (Slides)
4. Eguzkie Joan Da. (Porrusalda)
5. Coladh Samh, Lo Hadi. (Lullaby)
6. The Belles of South Boston/ The Rights of Man/The Moonlight Clog.(Hornpipes/Schottiche)
7. Dantza Luze/Mazurka/Hegi. (Mazurka/Dantzas)
8. Jamesy Gannon's/Polka 4/Tom Barrett's/The Blue Ribbon. (Barndance/Polkas)
9. Ezpatadantzak: Banangoak/Launangoa/Hurrengora arte. (Ezpatadantzas)
10. Cailleach an Airgid. (Song)
11. Agur Andreak.(Hymn/Reverential dance)
12. Bilbora Naioak. (Song)
Click on underlined titles to hear MP3 sound bites
are delighted to announce our release of this brilliant experimental CD.
The Basque Irish Connection:
Niamh Ni Charra ( Concertina / Fiddle /Vocals), Ibon Koteron (Alboka / Gaita / Txistu / Vocals), Gavin Ralston(Guitar)
Donogh Hennessy, Robbie Harris, Trevor Hutchinson (Eire), Asier Ercilla, Ruben Isasi, David Nanclares, Xabier Valle (Euskadi).
In 2009, Irish musician Niamh Ni Charra invited Basque musician Ibon Koteron to collaborate on a project entitled "The Basque Irish Connection" which, with funding from the Music Network Touring Scheme, performed in venues all over Ireland, and subsequently in the Basque country. Following the huge success of the project in both countries, it was decided to record the material, again with financial aid from Music Network.
This impressive album is the result. Showcasing Niamh and Ibon's talent and skill on their respective instruments, along with tasteful accompaniment from Gavin Ralston, it combines Irish and Basque melodies and songs, exploring the common themes running through both traditions as well as highlighting their individual characteristics.
"a fascinating and highly entertaining album, with the playing and singing of the highest standards throughout". Gordon Potter, The Living Tradition
Full tour details available at www.niamhnicharra. com
Other titles by Niamh available from Copperplate
IMCD001 From Both Sides
IMCD002 Happy Out
www.liveIreland.com The Livie Awards
Female Musician of the Year- Niamh Ni Charra
Niamh Ni Charra is a brilliant fiddle and concertina player. Let's repeat. Brilliant. Her wonderful collaborative album this year, the Basque Irish Connection showed not only her musical ability, but her range. She is unique. We had known of her for a couple of years, and then had the good fortune to see her when she substituted for Enda Scahill in a tour of America with The Brock-McGuire Band. Manus McGuire, Paul Brock, and Denis Carey are the epitome of the best Irish instrumental group. Niamh filled in perfectly with the top level of the music. She is a wonder. A hard-working musician, her career is assured. Like Matt Keane's song, she is Somebody Special.
The Living Tradition May/June 2012
Although a primary function of Arts Councils is to promote their own cultures, it is always encouraging to see that some can appreciate what is happening elsewhere. The Arts Council of Ireland funded Music Network, who have worked with Bizkaiko Foru Aldundia and Leonen Orroak to produce this truly outstanding example of how musicians can explore similarities and differences between their cultures. The principal performers are Ibon Koteron, albokas, gaita, txistus, vocals; Niamh Ni Charra, concertina, fiddle, vocals; and Gavin Ralston, guitars; with a number of guests, from both backgrounds. The songs and tunes are a mixture of traditional and original compositions, and show that there are universal themes which cut across all nationalities, such as love, hope, concern and drinking, yet there are innumerable ways in which to express these.
The instrumentation provides some of the most obvious differences, and here we get an opportunity to hear the txistu, a three-hole whistle of great antiquity; the alboka, a pipe made of horn with a double clarinet reed, also of great age; and the gaita, another pipe, but with an oboe reed. There is also a chance to contrast and compare the tempos and time signatures in what is a fascinating and highly entertaining album, with the playing and singing of the highest standards throughout.
notes are an excellent source of information, in Euskai, Irish and English,
which give equal weight to explanations of the music and histories of both the
cultures. Let's have more co-operations like this. Gordon
The Irish Post 19.11.11
Niamh makes the right connections in Basque Country
CO. KERRY has produced its fair share of great musicians ana singers over the years and now Killarney fiddle and concertina ace Niamh Ni Charra has a cracking new album out called The Basque Irish Connection.
The idea took root
in 2009 when Niamh invited Basque musician Ibon Koteron to collaborate with
her on a project of the same name, which, with funding from the Music Network
Touring Scheme, performed in venues all over Ireland and in the Basque country.
The success of the project in both countries fuelled the idea to record the material, again with financial help from the Music Network.
The result is a
lovely uplifting album that pays homage to both cultures under the unifying
banner of great music performed by gifted musicians playing with pride.
Niamh Ni Charra started playing music at the age of four going on to win numerous awards for her expertise on fiddle and concertina - both of which she later went on to teach. Niamh also gives regular workshops on both instruments. She has represented Ireland at festivals in Britain and France and even played support for The Chieftains and the brilliant Noel Hill before she reached her teens.
Niamh gave up a career in electronic engineering when the lure of music proved too strong and I doubt if she regrets it because she has toured the world for many years as a soloist with Riverdance, performing over 2,500 shows before returning to Ireland where i, she is now based.
She also tours
extensively as a member of the Carlos Nunez band. Her previous albums received
great reviews and her last release Sugach Samh/Happy Out was listed in Irish
Music Magazine as "probably the best album of 2010". This
new release can only enhance her already considerable status on the international
Celtic music scene. Joe Giltrap
In 2009, one of Kerry's most exciting young performers teamed up with a Basque musician and singer for a Music Network tour. Two tours, in fact, plus a follow-up recording session for those of us who missed the concerts. The result is this album: a fascinating mix of Munster fiddle and concertina, Basque whistles and alboka (a sort of proto clarinet), vocals in two of the world's rarest and most fascinating languages, and good old Gavin Ralston on modern guitar. The similarities between Basque and Irish music don't end with their rarity and charm: both cultures cling to the Western edge of Europe, with songs of the sea and festivals of the sun. Euskéirea - a name which combines Basque and Irish - is filled with dances, lullabies, airs, hymns and more. Reels and jigs are a small minority, although there is a fine version of The Shetland Fiddler. The Irish input includes polkas, slides, hornpipes and the like: The Hare in the Corn, The Rights of Man, Jamesy Gannon's Barndance and some less well-known names. Niamh also sings Cailleach an Airgid, a reprise from her second solo CD.
Ibon has a strong, warm voice, somewhere between a muezzin and a fado singer. He sings four songs here, ranging from the gentle lullaby Lo Hadi where Niamh contributes a verse in Irish, to the stirring drinkers' song Bilbora Naioak which closes the album. In between are various Basque dance forms, including the porrusalda which comes closest to an Irish reel. Ibon includes a porrusalda of his own which was inspired by celtic reels: to my ear there's an old-time Appalachian feel to the cadences of this tune, but it certainly gets the toes tapping. One of my favourite tracks on Euskéirea is the porrusalda Eguzkie Joan Da with treble and tenor albokas. Another is the set of three ezpatadantzas, each with a subtly different rhythm, but all in the southern European 12/8 metre which drives the dancers on. Extra tones and harmonies are added by guests from Ireland and the Basque country on several tracks: bass, drums, flute, pipes, a wee touch of electronics, and second parts on whistle and alboka. The whole thing is very pleasant and stimulating, with the emphasis on expression rather than speed, and if you're looking to broaden your musical horizons at all I'd heartily recommend this CD as a great place to start. Alex Monaghan
First up this month, we dedicate this review to our LiveIreland pal, "eiresonia". We love the girl, and she is a huge supporter of the site and this column. She will love this album. As a matter of fact, if she contacts me, I will get one sent to her. What is it? It features a gal familiar to LiveIreland fans, Niamh Ni Charra. Also present is the ubiquitous Gavin Ralston on guitar and Ibon Koteron. There are some notable guest stars as well, including Donogh Hennessy on guitar and Trevor Hutchinson on bass. We think the title of the album ia Euskeira-The Basque Irish Connection. Or, it could be O Euskadi go hEirinn. If you see the album cover and the attendant liner notes, you'll see why we aren't sure about this. No matter. This album is magic. Eiresonia will be familiar with the Basque region in Spain and our worldwide listeners will be familiar with the Irish area of Ireland. Niamh is a brilliant concertina and fiddle player. Ralston is well-known on guitar. We've never heard of this Koteron fellow, but he is a heck of a musician. As Niamh has been traveling the world, she has obviously fallen in love with the music of the Basque region. In January of 2009 the Music Network awarded her the opportunity to invite a foreign musician and collaborate with him or her on a project which would be of interest to the Irish public. Thus, the Basque-Irish Connection. Niamh and Ibon researched and arranged the songs while melding the two musical cultures. They have toured the album in Europe fairly extensively. This music is extraordinarily well done. Ibon plays the Albokas, the gaita, the txistus, and sings. We could have done a lot more research here and told you what those instruments are. However, our leader and site fuehrer, David Latimer, is hounding for deadline. Whatever these things are that he plays, they are wonderful, and we love the sound! You don't have to know the particulars of an instrument to know when you are hearing a master play it. So be it. Besides, it is not as if we're going to have to become expert in these instruments. When is the next time we're going to be asked to review something with a Basque-Irish connection unless eiersonia records it? Here's the bottom line. Eiresonia will love this album, and so will you .These are three highly accomplished musicians blending a unique sound. They are at the height of the creativity and this is magic. I know we already said that, but it deserves repeating. Bill Margeson