John Carty, fidde
Damien Stenson, flute
John Blake, guitar
Seamus Quinn, piano
Sean McElwain, bouzouki and Tristan Rosenstock, bodhran.
The Tap Room:
Jackson's Morning Brush:
The Tinker's Frolic:
- Mary Brennan's Favourite / The White Leaf.
- The Tap Room / The Kerryman's Daughter.
- The Merry Girl / Charlie O'Neill's.
- Jackson's Morning Brush / The Rambling Pitchfork.
- The Flannel Jacket / The Maid That Dare Not Tell.
- The Cisco Hornpipe / Walsh's Hornpipe.
- The Rainy Day / The Trip to Durrow.
- Bean a'Leanna.
- The Maids of Mount Kisco / Johnny Henry's.
- The Lark in the Morning / Tony Kenny's / Sheila's Jig.
- The Morning Thrush.
- Peter Wyper's / The Killarney Wonder.
- Larry McDonagh's / Cock Up & C&C.
- The Tinker's Frolic / Mary of the Grove.
- The Strayaway Child.
- Moneymusk / Jim Gannon's.
- Aughamore / Hughie's Cap.
Irish Music Review
One of the brightest young stars in the panoply of Ireland traditional music, this is fiddler Oisín Mac Diarmada's third album, though the first to bear just his own name. First came, in 2000, the sparkling Traditional Music on Fiddle, Banjo & Harp, recorded with banjo player Brian Fitzgerald and harper Micheál Ó Ruanaigh, followed earlier this year by Oisín's band Téada's self-titled debut album, also on Ceol Records. However, Ar an bhFidil ('On the fiddle') tops the lot, fully confirming Mac Diarmada's position as a wonderfully adept and evocative musician.
Oisín's early years were spent in County Clare where he learnt his first music before the family moved to South Sligo where he took lessons from the notable fiddle teacher, Paddy Ryan. Now noted as a music tutor in his own right, and still only in his early twenties, Oisín's playing on Ar an bhFidil creates a relaxed confection of the music of Sligo and Clare, topped with the delicacies of an astounding technique given full expression by the sheer imagination of his tune settings. His playing of the slow air Bean a 'leanna, associated with the late Connemara singer Joe Heaney, simmers with an unrequited passion. Jigs and reels are threaded with an innate merriment and, above all, Oisín has the power to invest very familiar tunes, such as The Lark in the Morning with new life fashioned by the pure merriment in his playing. Thoroughly enjoyable throughout, this is unquestionably an album that merits repeated listening.
The Living Tradition Dec/ Jan 2004
This is really good fiddle playing by a 24 year old who's got more talent than many older fiddlers. Moving from Clare to Sligo as a lad must have done something for him because he has a mixture of both styles as well as his own personality stamped on his playing.
He wrote his own concise but thorough sleeve notes giving due credit to the players he got the tunes from and they show the wide range of the players who influenced him, Coleman, James Morrison, John McKenna, and Ennis (of course).
He seems to be able to change style as easily as changing key, from the old Clare style of the first track, to the 1920s James Morrison/ Michael Coleman tracks on The Tap Room/The Kerryman's Daughter, via John McKenna, Josie McDermott, Denis Murphy and Ed Reavy. Yet throughout, he puts his own style of playing on every tune. In some ways, his ability to do this is reminiscent of Frankie Gavin in one of his mischievous moods.
There's a good mix of tunes, mostly well known but with rarities like a Seamus Ennis version of The Lark in the Morning that's not often played now. Reels predominate, of course, but ther are single and double jigs, hornpipes, and Leitrim style polkas too. A big surprise is The Strayaway Child, composed by Maggie Barry (who's become known as Margaret lately), that Michael German used to play But the big one for me is The Morning Thrush, composed by Seamus Ennis's father James. I've never heard anyone else but Ennis play this, and Mac Diarmada makes a great fist of it. It's a great pipe tune that deserves more playing.
My old friend Paddy Ryan wrote the introduction to the CD and says at the end that he can highly recommend it. I sometimes disagreed with Paddy in the past, but not this time. This is great music, well played by a fine young fiddler. I look forward to his next release. Mick Furey
Irish Music Magazine April 2003
Of late, there seems to have been a trend among traditional musicians of a younger generation to move from fiery blistering pyrotechnics to more mellower and laid back means of musical expression. By that, I mean players are engaging themselves with the details of the music and it's manifold subtleties rather than kick stepping their ways to oblivion. Martin Hayes is one such example and on this showing, Oisin MacDiarmada is another.
Oisin MacDiarmada's debut solo album, Ar an bhFidil typifies this laid back approach. MacDiarmada's fiddle playing is rooted in the Sligo style. While the frantic wildness of a Michael Coleman is evident on, The Tap Room, he is no idle speed merchant. He favours the low-fi approach with the music speaking for itself; the result is a warm natural sounding album.
Ar an bhFidil revels in the small dry sounds so beloved of Television's, Tom Verlaine on their seminal Marquee Moon album. This is low-key traditional music, yet rich in character, subtlety, and individual strength. The 17 tracks on show augurs well for the purse strings along with a plentiful supply of notes for each track detailing source musicians and other details. We aren't talking encyclopedia type documentation, but enough for the casual reader to get the gist of what's going on, and yet nail the vital facts down.
The accompaniments are also sparse with a minimum on one extra instrument whether, it's piano, flute, second fiddle or bouzouki - the balance between featured protagonist and guests is just right. Add to that, a concise production from Harry Bradshaw and this becomes one well thought and enacted affair. Ar an bhFidil is a work of discernment and quality, check it out. John O'Regan.
A very pleasing trait of some current young musicians is that quite a few of them are happy to play in the way their antecedents played; one thinks immediatly of the Kane sisters, Harry Bradley, Martin Hayes. Oisin MacDiarmada is another such. He has the lonesome touch, and quite a few of the tracks are totaly unaccompanied. Where accompaniment is used, it is not as an offensive weapon, and throughout. he proves that he is not just a very fine fiddler, but a young man with an understanding of exactly what the music means. Yet another very worthwhile release in a year that has provided us with many great recordings.
Hot Press November 6th 2002
This debut solo CD by 24-year-old Sligo fiddler Oisín Mac Diarmada opens with a superbly confident set of tunes played without accompaniment, full of lovely raw scraping double-stops and rolls. Elsewhere on the album, Séamus Quinn contributes a bouncy piano to a few tracks, a set of reels played by Mac Diarmada on the whistle has bodhrán backing from Tristan Rosenstock, and several others feature bouzouki or guitar accompaniment; there are also a couple of fine duets with fellow fiddler John Carty. Mostly, though, it does exactly what it says on the tin - pure traditional fiddling, raw and unadorned, and all the better for it. The album was produced by RTÉ's Harry Bradshaw, who's done a beautiful job at keeping the sound natural and letting the tunes take centre stage. Sarah McQuaid. Nine out of Ten.
The Irish Times (Irish Newspaper) September 26th 2002
Fiddle music for folks who like their trad infusion unadulterated. Oisín Mac Diarmada, Sligo fiddler and member of young turks téada, is already on his second solo run, and how his pace has slowed - but admirably so. Ar An bhFidil is exactly what is says on the tin: a stripped down sally (back and) forth through the Sligo tradition. Duelling and duetting with fellow fiddler John Carty on the set of Michael Coleman jigs, Jackson's Morning Brush/The Rambling Pitchfork, Mac Diarmada's playing is feisty and earthy at the same time. Not afraid to let the fiddle's hoarseness seep through, this is a player who cajoles his instrument through nooks and crannies in the tradition that lesser players would avoid. Lonesome magnificence.
Siobhán Long**** (4 stars)
The Irish Examiner (Irish Newspaper).September 26th 2002
In traditional music, as in other forms, solo albums are rarely what they claim to be. At a minimum, musicians like to use the safety net of an accompanist. Other players are added, sometimes in a perfectly valid attempt to recreate some fondly remembered session. When the process is taken to extremes, the leading player is often relegated to the background. In his new album, Ar an bhFidil, Oisín Mac Diarmada sets a brave course.
This is a solo fiddle album and, on many tracks, solo fiddle is exactly what we get. When he moves beyond the strictly solo format, it is in the company of another melody player - John Carty on fiddle and Damien Stenson on flute. Or in tandem with a single accompanist - Séamus Quinn on piano, Seán McElwain on bouzouki, Tristan Rosenstock on bodhrán and John Blake on guitar all take turns. Mary Brennan's Favourite kicks off, slow and steady. The pace picks up for The White Leaf, but the velocity remains on the leisurely side. John Carty joins for the jigs, Jackson's Morning Brush/The Rambling Pitchfork, and the hornpipe/schottische Peter Wyper's/The Killarney Wonder. The two players meld wonderfully. Mac Diarmada shows another part of his musical personality in switching to whistle for the reels The Flannel Jacket/The Maid That Dare Not Tell. The Cisco Hornpipe and Walsh's Hornpipe are taken at a strolling pace, which allows both the music and the musician room to breathe. The Morning Thrush - written by Séamus Ennis' father James - is a beautifully clear and expressive slow reel. A jokey piano line introduces The Tap Room, pushing forward to the point of interference. In contrast, the bouzouki background on The Rainy Day is unobtrusive.
Ar an bhFidil is warm, rich music that combines a high level of technical skill with a sense of humour. Pat Ahern
Pay The Reckoning Web Site
Pay The Reckoning was captivated by Teada's recent offering and so we were excited to hear rumours that Oisin MacDiarmada, the band's fiddler, was in the process of putting together a solo recording. Well, folks, the patient wait is at an end and the results of MacDiarmada's time in the studio have surpassed our high expectations.
MacDiarmada proves himself yet again to be one of the most sensitive and soulful fiddlers around. The album's design, simple and straightforward, reflects his own approach to his craft. MacDiarmada isn't a man for pyrotechnics, he doesn't batter a tune into submission and then bends it to his will. His is a more subtle approach; he gives the tune room to develop in a seemingly organic way, so that his ornamentation and embellishments seem natural, unforced.
However, as any musician will tell you, such apparently natural ease with a tune is the product of two elements - natural talent and hard work. MacDiarmada has no end of the former and has no fear of the latter. The result is pure magic!
MacDiarmada's knowledge of, and captivation by, the music of the 20s and the 30s (the "golden age" of Irish music, as some have dubbed the period) is worn proudly on his sleeve as he gives us versions of a number of tunes and sets on the album which were recorded by such legends as Coleman, Morrison, John McKenna, Patsy Tuohey and Paddy Killoran. However, you mustn't get the impression that MacDiarmada's an academic. His interest isn't so much in the history of the tunes as their timelessness and his playing of the tunes represents a reawakeneing rather than a resurrection.
There are moments of savage, soulful (there goes that word again) perfection on this album. His playing of "The White Leaf" - a version of the more widely known "Mason's Apron" - is so elementally powerful a sound as to cause the listener to wonder how one tune can express at the same time such extremes of joy and melancholy.
On the polka set "The Merry Girl/Charlie O'Neill's", MacDiarmda lays claim to Sligo/Leitrim influences. But to our ears, the latter tune in particular sounded as if it was being played by the ghost of the long-dead John Doherty (and we know of no higher compliment), so refined was the blend of dazzling technique and sheer emotion.
The reel set "The Flannel Jacket/The Maid That Dare Not Tell" is of interest in that MacDiarmada shows us another aspect of his musical ability as he gives both tunes an airing on the whistle. Accompanied by Tristan Rosenstock on inventive, yet rock-solid bodhran, the "spare" feel of the track conjures up an atmosphere which a more busy production could never capture.
And so, throughout the album, MacDiarmada, along with various musical sparring partners (Seamus Quinn on piano, John Carty on fiddle, Damien Stenson on flute, with guest cameos by fellow Teada members Sean McElwain on bouzouki, John Blake on guitar and Trisan Rosenstock on bodhran), lays out his stall of mighty talent, a great ear for a tune and a great feel for capturing mood.
However, even amid all the excellent music which MacDiarmada provides, his solo version of "The Strayaway Child" stands out as a defining moment of the album. Played to great effect by Kevin Burke in his Bothy Band days, MacDiarmada nevertheless manages to inject the tune with so much of his own feeling that it's difficult to imagine it ever having been played by anyone before and almost impossible to imagine anyone else ever doing the tune justice.
A massive album. Honest, passionate and quietly defiant. You'd do well to visit http://go.to/copperplate and get yourself a copy. And while you're at it, grab hold of a copy of Teada's debut!
Teada Live Review
The Herald (Scottish Newspaper) April 25th 2003
The name, like k d lang's, is determinedly lower case. It's pronounced "tay-day". It's Irish for "strings", and it might be advisable to get used to it because there was a feeling of portent as pronounced as a poteen hangover about this gig. The band are young - how young you can guess by the news of teada's bodhran player's absence due to exams - and maybe it was the novelty of having an accordionist make up the quartet, but loathers of football clichés look away because I'm going to use one: this was a game of two halves - bloody good and bleedin' marvellous. The first established the group's liking for variety of metre and arrangement, pairing off for fiddle and flute duets, and employing numerous other instrumental permutations, from solo to quartet. It also confirmed that, in Oisin Mac Diarmada, teada have a fiddler of quite starting old-head-on-young-shoulders ability. You could hear centuries of tradition and doubtless long hours of dedication in his sweet and graceful melodiousness. If at times, then, his colleagues seemed to be playing catch-up, later they were right on the pace, adding richness and precision on banjo, bouzouki, box, and flute. Flautist John Blake, English-accented but Galway-based, takes stick for his origins but brings natural aptitude and technique on tunes, and in doubling upon guitar he offers harmonic invention and real drive. One complaint might be their one song per set ration. Mac Diarmada sings well, interestingly, and with feeling, and might do even more so with some practice. But with such quality of musicianship and attention to a tune's essential shape, they'll so as they are for now. Rob Adams
Teada Live Review
Edinburgh Evening News (Scottish Newspaper) April 24th 2003
Edinburgh's Ceilidh Culture programme continued last night as young Irish band Teada brought their classic Celtic credentials to town in their debut Scottish gig. Now a five-piece outfit since the recruitment of accordion player Paul Finn earlier this year, Teada were shorn of their bodhran player Tristan Rosenstock, back home in Dublin preparing for his finals, but, in his absence, the band, with Oisin Mac Diarmada leading on fiddle and excellent vocals certainly passed this test. Traditionally Irish but with a punkish edge to their style, Teada, which is Irish for strings, genuinely enjoy their music, and their repertoire had enough shifts in pace and style to keep the band, and their audience, on their toes, raucous one minute, sensitive and serene the next, traditional Irish music with attitude. Seemingly playing well within themselves in their first set, with an intriguing mix of reels, jigs and hornpipes, the band cut loose in a second set that got one encore, but could have received several, such was the reception they received. Mac Diarmada is a real talent, his fiddle-playing of the highest order, but with a distinctive, almost discordant edge to it, and his Irish vocals were full of Irish passion. Teada, however, are no one-man-band, and with banjo/bouzouki player Sean McElwain offering subtlety and style, Finn on accordion and John Blake on guitar and flute, they are a refreshing addition to the genre. The highlights were the numbers in celebration of the piping tradition shared on both sides of the Irish Sea, and the hornpipes, especially Tom Connor's and Mayday, and reels such as Teetotaller and Billy McCumiskey's showed the versatility of Teada goes across the spectrum of Irish music. Teada are a tight, traditional Irish band with something quite intangible to separate them from the rest, and if there is a better new band on the Emerald Isle, then they must be very, very good. Mike J. Wilson
I was having a few tunes with Marcus O'Murchu this evening, (as you do) & he happened to have a few copies of this new CD about his person, so I took out one of those crisp foldy things & exchanged it for Oisin's brilliant new CD - fair exchange is no robbery.
It is lovely piece of work, from this highly accomplished young musician, who is confident enough to play many of the tracks without any accompaniment, & his playing stands up beautifully on it's own, a joy, especially for Fiddlers, to listen to.
He is joined by John Carty on a couple of tracks for some super double Fiddle magic. Seamus Quinn comes in on a couple of tracks on Piano, while Sean McElwain does the same on Bouzouki, John Blake lends a hand on Guitar on one track & Tristan Rosenstock accompanies Oisin's whistle playing, on Bodhran, on track No. 5.
Paddy Ryan writes about how 'the music is tastefully played by a musician who knows his art form. He has a deep understyanding of the richness & beauty of the music & an innate ability to interpret a good tune.
The imaginative tune settings, the intricate variations & technical mastery, & the full-bodied, sweet tone are the hallmarks of his superb musicianship. His style is very distinctive & very personal with influences from Clare & North Connaught showing through. This recording encapsulates the artistry of Oisin MacDiarmada as a top class Fiddler. The music flows with clarity & fluency, & the rich variety of tunes displays his extensive musical range.'
Paddy concludes by saying he 'can highly recommend it'. Well I concur, it's a beezer, & if your a Fiddler, it will be added to your collection, sooner or later, mark my words.
One wee gripe, & it's nothing to do with this CD, or it's incredible music, which is sure to delight all who are fortunate to listen to it. It's just that since James Morrison's Orchestra recorded this tune in the 20's, & someone miss spelt the name, nobody has since checked up, they just copy the fault. For anyone interested, take out an atlas & find Aberdeen, on the NE coast of Scotland, now travel due west until you come to the village of Monymusk - not Money Musk. OK - you have now been warned!
Posted on August 30th 2002 by PtarmiganSligo fiddle-player Oisin Mac Diarmada, at 24 years of age, is an honours graduate in Music Education from Trinity College, Dublin. In addition to widespread performing activity whish has brought performances in venues and festivals throughout Europe and the USA, Oisin is respected internationally as a fiddle tutor and his journalistic, lecturing, examining and production work. He is fast becoming one of the most exciting young musicians on the traditional music scene, his playing on a previous release, CICD144 Traditional Music on Fiddle, Banjo and Harp (available from Copperplate) was described by renowned music journalist, Simon Jones as "so sensitive it's enough to make grown men cry".
Now, performing with exciting young traditional band, teada, who have released their highly successful debut album (available from Copperplate) recently, Oisin's performances bring a strong flavour of the rich Sligo tradition of fiddle-playing, together with what fiddler/ researcher/ broadcaster, Paddy Ryan describes as " a deep understanding of the richness and beauty of the music, and an innate ability to interpret a good tune".
On this new release, Oisin predominately features traditional Irish fiddle-playing in a pure, solo context, performed in a uniquely personal and traditional style with flavours of the great Sligo fiddle tradition. Additionally there are a number of tracks which separately feature artists of the calibre of John Carty, on fiddle, Seamus Quinn on piano, Sean McElwain on bouzouki, Damien Stenson on flute, John Blake on guitar and Tristan Rosenstock on Bodhran.
We at Copperplate will be supporting this release with a high profile promotional campaign and full-scale mail out to media and retail sectors. Feedback always welcome. Thank you for your support.