- Johnny "Ringo" McDonagh: bodhran
- Ryan Molloy: piano
- Jonas Fromseier: banjo
The veteren fiddle-player and award-winning musician, Ben Lennon, will launch the new album, Tis What It Is, by Mick Conneely and David Munnelly at the opening ceremony of this year's Willie Clancy festival on Sunday, 8th July in St. Joseph's Secondary School, Spanish Point at 4.00 p.m.
"The title for this album is indeed very well chosen and self-explanatory. Let me say that there are no airs and graces here. The music springs out of the deep recesses of the pure and natural tradition, bouncing along over rocks and boulders like a mountain stream in full spate, a reminder of the open-hearth fires, flagged-floored kitchens, half-doors and thatched roofs of the Ireland of my youth, where the music found its home and where it flourished in its natural surroundings. " - Ben Lennon
Mick Conneely: Mick is one of the most respected fiddle players of his generation. He has played and toured with many artists, including De Danann, Mary Bergin, Frankie Gavin, and Mairtin O'Connor among others. In 2001 his debut solo album, Selkie, was released to critical acclaim on the Clo lar-Chonnacht label.
David Munnelly: David Munnelly was born into a musical family and was surrounded by music from a very early age. He set up the David Munnelly Band in 1999, and in that same year he recorded his debut CD, entitled Swing. He recorded three other CDs with the band and has toured extensively.
The Kiss Behind the Door:
- The High Caul Cap/Napoleon Crossing the Alps
- Maho Snaps/Tay in the Bog/The Maid in the Meadow
- P. Flanagan's/Hughie Traver's Reel/Spoil the Dance
- O'Donnell's Hornpipe/The First of May
- The Pride of Rockchapel/Mrs Cooty's/Statia Donnelly's
- For Michael
- The Jolly Tinker/The Yellow Tinker/The Longford Tinker
- The Kiss Behind the Door/Paddy Shannon's
- Shoe the Donkey/The Emigrant's Letter/Liza Lynn
- The Carna Reel/Temple Hill/Sporting Paddy
- The Humours of Glenflesk/Denis Murphy's Slide #2
- McGovern's Favourite/Colonel Fraser
- The Rakes of Kildare/Haley's Favourite/Flanagan's
- The New Mown Meadow/Big John McNeil/The Silver Spire
Available from Copperplate CICD 148 Mick Conneely: Selkie
RS **** 4 star review
Right from the opening set of barn dances, Mick and David play full-on Irish music without the aid of a safety net! This is fiery stuff- rare to hear in a studio recording. Both are respected traditional musicians. Mick, who is a member of the recent re-formed De Dannan, plays fiddle and some Greek bouzouki while David, who worked with Niamh Parsons for several years, plays accordion and melodeon. Johnny 'Ringo'McDonagh provides bodhran accompaniment and Ryan Molloy and Jonas Fromseieradd occasional piano and banjo respectively.
The CD is a well-balanced selection of jigs, reels and barn dances all played with a deep respect and feel forthe tradition. This is uncompromisingly music to get up and dance to. As the title suggests, 'Tis What it ls! Keith Whiddon
The Living Tradition.
Fourteen superb sets of tunes from this Irish duo — 57 minutes of pure gold on mostly just accordion and fiddle, with forays over the border into melodeon and bouzouki land.
Both well known individually and from other bands, this pair complement each other brilliantly, and if it's Irish tunes that float your boat there's a fine selection here. Mostly popular session tunes, and almost exclusively traditional, there could have been a danger of sounding a bit samey - but not here, as they have been carefully selected and sequenced delightfully, and the fine musicianship carries them throughout.
The pinnacle is the ?nal medley - The New Mown Meadow / Big John McNeill/ The Silver Spur, all three of which are also known by other titles, in common with most Irish session tunes.
Not only is the music great, but the packaging is superb, with comprehensive notes to each track (in English and Irish Gaelic).
When needed, the guys have recruited Johnny 'Ringo' McDonagh (Conneely's band mate from De Danann) on bodhran, Jonas Fromseier on banjo and Ryan Molloy (from the David Munnelly Band) on piano — all of whom offer vital contributions.
Great to hear two guys at the top of their game, musically, and who are obviously thoroughly enjoying playing with each other. Their UK dates are few and far between, but on the basis of this album, I would say make the effort and travel to see these guys, if you love those standard issue Irish session tunes. They do it for me. Grem Devlin
Tis what it is indeed. The coming together of Mick Conneely and David Munnelly brings with it a joyous and feverish selection of tunes that bristle with energy and pace. It is definitely more in the style of early De Dannan than east Clare, springing as it does from the backgrounds of the musicians involved. Mick is one of the most respected musicians around and we have long admired his musical style. He has played with a who's who of artists from De Danann to Noel Hill, Kevin Crawford and others. David has been surrounded by music from an early age and has likewise worked the circuit with Niamh Parsons, De Dannan, The Chieftains and others.
This is late at night virtuoso music with both musicians in full flight attacking the tunes with laughter in their cheekbones and sweat on their brows. Raw energy with the bow flying across the strings in staccato style, with triplets and stops reigning down being very much the order of the day. It is most definitely the album you put on after the dinner party and not before, when you want to inject some life into proceedings. You can nearly hear the whoops from the corner as onlookers pray the dawn will never come and these musicians do not tire. Just one more for the road. Musicians of this calibre can do it either way and the approach to the album has clear intent and purpose representing as it does something of the spirit within the musicians and within all of us.
There are 14 tracks in total with some well known tunes. Mostly comprising jigs and reels, they add one slow air on accordion to slow things down and let you catch your breath. From the opening barn dances The High Caul Cap/Napolean Crossing the Alps to the fantastic closing set of reels The New-Mown Meadow/Big John McNeil/The Silver Spire you have what is described in the sleeve notes as "a raucous encounter between chaos and melody" It steps outside the boundaries in approach and delivers one of the most energetic albums you will hear this year. Tony Lawless
The Irish World
FIDDLE player and award winning musician Ben Lennon will launch the new album Tis What It Is by Mick Conneely and David Munnelly at the opening ceremony of this year's Willie Clancy festival (Ireland's largest traditional music summer school) on Sunday July 8.
"Us What It Is" is a traditional album consisting of the bouzouki, piano, banjo and bodhran featuring behind the music, creating that "old" sound, as Lennon describes it in the foreword. He then goes on to explain that, "The tunes are all treated with respect, the tempo is just right and overall there is a good, lively, rhythmic beat-what we in Leitrum use to call 'hearty' music".
Greek Bouzouki and Fiddle player Mick Conneely has played and toured with many big names in the traditional music industry, Mary Bergin, Tony Mac Mahon, Niall C> Callanain and Micho Russell being a few. He is also part of the Irish music group De Danann with the likes of Alec Finn and Johnny 'Ringo' McDonagh, but then went to release a solo album in 2001, Selkie. Connelly's work is so reputable that he is in great demand as a fiddle teacher.
David Munnelly, who features on the album playing the accordion and the melodeon, was raised by a very musical family. As a child, he listened to the singing and playing of his grandmother and the lilting from his grandfather, which influenced his musical career from a very early age. After showing great interest his uncle taught him to play the accordion at the age of 7.
After he studied in Dublin, he toured with Niamh Parsons for 6 years, and then went on to set up the David Munnelly Band in 1999 and the same year, released his debut solo album entitled Swing. With the album consisting of a mix of reels, jigs, hornpipes, barn dances, slides and waltzes, the CD welcomes a wide range of people and age groups, especially all followers and lovers of traditional music.