- The Road to Lisdoonvarna / Carthy's Reel / The Mermaid of Mullaghmore. (4.16)
- Smuggling the Tin. (3.20)
- The Lurgadaun / Dancing Eyes / Down the Back Lane. (3.44)
- The Curlew Hills / Father Dollard's. (4.04)
- Will Ye Go to Flanders. (4.02)
- The Arragh Mountains / The Rakes of Westmeath / A Fig for a Kiss. (3.55)
- The Providence / Roscommon Reels/ Fred Finn's. (4.24)
- Muiris O Coinnleain. (3.10)
- McDonagh's Air. (4.08)
- The Jolly Young Ploughboy. (3.37)
- In Memory of Coleman / Farewell to London / The Sunny Banks. (3.20)
- Se Fath Mo Bhurtha. (3.42)
- Music in the Glen / Sean sa Cheo. (4.14)
Providence have just completed a very successful year of gigging which saw them release their second album A Fig for a Kiss, RoRi CD 002, on their own label Rolling River Productions. Their eponymous debut album received great acclaim both in Ireland and abroad. The band's first tour outside Ireland brought them to the Arctic Circle for St. Patrick's Day. The band also appeared at some major European festivals during the summer including Dranouter Festival in Belgium and Waidhofen Festival in Austria, the Finnish Irish Folk Festival Tour as well as making numerous appearances around Ireland, Éigse Mrs Crotty, Mary of Dungloe Festival and the world famous Queens Festival in Belfast to mention but a few. Providence were also special guests on the prestigious Iain Anderson Show on BBC Radio Scotland prior to an appearance at the Callander Festival. Since the launch of their second album the band have featured live on the legendary John Creedon Show, RTÉ Radio 1 and on RTÉ TV's Open House. They also featured on the award-winning series on TG4 Geantraí. Apart from touring Ireland in February the band will also be touring Italy, Germany, UK, Norway and the USA over the coming months.
from County Wexford is the group's singer. Joan formerly sang with the famed a cappella group The Fallen Angels which included Frances Black and Máire Bhreathnach among its ranks over the years. Joan toured extensively with the Fallen Angels and appeared at many major festivals including Cambridge Folk Festival, Leysin Rock Festival in Switzerland, and Fairport Convention's Reunion Festival. She has also performed with Kieran Halpin, Kieran Goss, Steve Cooney, Manus Lunny, Mark Kelly, and Macalla among others.
Mícheál Ó Raghallaigh
hails from a musical family in County Meath. He has played concertina and accordion from an early age. Mícheál has taught workshops and has toured all over Europe and the USA. He is also a member of the three-time All-Ireland winning Táin Céilí Band.
plays flute and whistle. From Roscommon, he was immersed in the North Connacht flute tradition, playing with such eminent players as Patsy Hanly, Tommy Guihan, and Peter Horan to mention a few. John has won numerous All-Ireland titled for whistle and flute. He plays and teaches at various workshops and festivals around the country.
also comes from a musical family from Glenullin, Co. Derry. She plays with members of her family in the Gleann an Iolair Céilí Band. She has toured England, USA and Australia extensively with Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann and has also toured Italy with All Set.
is the band's bouzouki/guitar player. Formerly he was a member of Arcady which included Frances Black, Sharon Shannon and Cathal Hayden. Paul also played with Martin Hayes, the Máire Bhreathnach Band, and the Seán Keane Band with whom he toured such countries as Poland, Germany, Finland, Sweden. Over the years Paul has also recorded with many of Ireland's most respected musicians among them Matt Molloy, Paul O'Shaughnessy, Paul McGrattan, Gay McKeon, and Arty McGlynn.
Pay The Reckoning August 2002
Pay The Reckoning has already waxed lyrical over the solo CD "The Nervous Man", by Providence's concertinist and accordionist Micheal O'Raghallaigh. We are no less impressed by this, the second CD by one of Ireland's most exciting traditional groups, which in addition to O'Raghallaigh comprises Clodagh Boylan (fiddle), John Wynne (flute, low whistles), Joan McDermott (vocals) and Paul Doyle (guitar, bouzouki, backing vocals, bodhran).
The instrumentation invites comparisons to Altan, and indeed if Providence have musical peers, then the Donegal-based outfit are a convenient reference point. (Or at least the early incarnation of the band, when Frankie Kennedy was still with us and the band were wedded to exploring the rich musical traditions of North-West Ulster.) However, although they may be as exciting, as vibrant and as accessible (without ever diluting the music) as the early Altan, Providence plough their own furrow, and a deep and productive furrow at that.
The album's opening is perfectly judged to raise the hairs on the back of the tradophile's neck. The opening reel in the set of three (The Road To Lisdoonvarna/Carty's Reel/The Maid Of Mullaghmore) kicks off with Boylan underpinning O'Raghallaigh's edgy concertina with an eerie, bittersweet drone. The tension between the two instruments builds to a climax at the end of the first go-round and then, as we knew - or hoped - resolves at the repeat as Boylan picks up the melody with O'Raghallaigh. Wynne takes up the rein for the second tune and then all democracy breaks loose as the band give the final reel (long associated with John Doherty) a lash.
The precise yet characterful playing and intelligent, uncluttered arrangements witnessed in this first set set a standard for the album which Providence never after fail to meet. On reel sets such as "The Providence Reel/Roscommon Reel/Fred Finn's", "In Memory of Coleman/Farewell To London/The Sunny Banks" and "Music In The Glen/Sean Sa Cheo", the same spine-tingling mixture of control and abandon is in evidence. McDermott's voice is a revelation. Clear as a bell, unforced and untainted by any form of "artfulness", she is utterly compelling in her renditions of "Muiris O Coinnleain" and "Se Fath Mo Bhuartha". However her best work is reserved for the English language songs "Smuggling The Tin" and "The Jolly Young Ploughboy". The former is a great comic song from the Second World War when there was a trade in smuggled tin between Northern Ireland and the Free State and concerns the misadventures of a group of hapless reprobates whose efforts at lawlessness come to nothing. The second, originally from England, McDermott picked up from the singing of the saintly Frank Harte and delivers with great commitment. (Incidentally, are we alone in detecting in the song's air the embryo of the tune of that American folk classic "Jesse James"?)
Two tune sets in particular are worthy of special mention. The jig set "The Lurgadaun/Dancing Eyes/Down The Back Lane" is instantly gripping and as fine an example of ensemble musicianship as you're likely to hear. And as for the hornpipe set "The Curlew Hills/Father Dollard's", we're at a loss to describe the inventiveness and sophistication of the band's mastery of the crooked rhythm. The second tune in this set in particular must surely rank as one of the most definitive of Irish hornpipes.
"A Fig For A Kiss" is the sort of CD which, given a wide audience, will establish Providence at the very forefront of the trad mob! So, do your bit for a great band; via http://go.to/copperplate and order a copy for yourself (and your friends - converted and non-believers alike!). For more information about the band itself, visit http://www.providence-trad.com
The Living Tradition. 01/02
I first came across Providence after hearing John Wynne's solo flute album. Wanting to hear more, I bought the groups first album and liked it. This is their second, which is usually the trickiest for anybody. Not to worry, this is up to the standard of the previous outing. The only line up change is Clodagh Boylan on fiddle instead of Meabh O'Hare The instrumental balance is slightly different with a wee bit more prominence to Micheal O'Raghallaigh's concertina this time out, but that's no harm. They're not out to make a particular sound, but to show different blends of instruments
Seven dance tracks, one slow air and five songs with nothing you wouldn't be happy to listen to for a long time. The Road to Lisdoonvarna is mostly played as a jig, odd times as a reel, but Providence play a fling version that works well. The other tunes are a mix of old friends and less widely known tunes.
They've even adapted a tune learded from the McDonagh brothers of Ballinafad as a waltz and made a slow air of it. It probably was originally an air, as many of the older players used to play airs in 3:4 time, so they've restored it to its rightful place.
I get the feeling that Joan McDermott is more at home with the two songs in Irish than the three in English. Maybe they're more suited to her singing style, but they do flow more easily. None of the songs are hackneyed though and include some gems. She's done her homework in the National Archives, and found a fine song in 'Muiris O' Coinnleain', from the Waterford tradition.
Providence have overcome the dreaded 'second CD' hazard; we'll see more of them in future. Mick Furey.
Taplas Dec/Jan 02 (The Welsh Folk Magazine)
As I had predicted, Dublin based Providence's second album marks a significant advance on their debut. When I reviewed that, I claimed their fiddler was Claire Boylan, Oops! On that CD it was Meabh O'Hare, whom Boylan replaces this time round. Otherwise, the line up is unchanged, with Roscommon flute player John Wynne and concertina player Micheal O'Raghallaigh very much to the fore. I still have reservations about singer Joan McDermott and really dislike the sleeve design. But, don't let that put you off. This is fine traditional Irish music played with great swing and vitality. Nick Passmore.
Some strong Irish albums emerge on the horizon, notably Providence's A Fig For A Kiss. Top notch instrumentals plus a classy singer in Joan McDermott supplying a light and shade that bears comparison with the immortal Bothy Band. Colin Irwin
The Irish music scene is blessed with an embarrassment of riches where traditional bands are concerned, with outfits such as Sliabh Nulor, Dervish and many more appealing to a variety of constituancies. To that list must now be added the name of Providence. A Fig For A Kiss is their second album, and quite an advance on their debut. A sound, which will be refined even further, is beginning to evolve - a lively interplay between fiddle, flute and double leads, heard to fine effect on tunes sets like, The Road to Lisdoonvarna and The Arragh Mountains, jig set.
There is great internal space created within these tunes, with lead instruments dipping, weaving and walloping where appropraite, and backed up by Paul Doyle's ever solid guitar work never threatening to overwhelm either the music or the listener.
In every crown there is a jewel and for this listener it's the voice of Joan McDermott, bell like in its clarity, skittish as a young pup on Smuggling The Tin and solemn as is appropriate on Se Fath mo Bhurtha. With this album, Providence have done themselves a wealth of good, and I'd venture to say that it is one of the finest records of the year so far. Oliver P. Sweeney 10 out of 12
Dark fiddle provides the opening drone for the jaunty concertina driven fling, The Road to Lisdoonvarna. The tune develops nicely, maintaining its shape with the addition of flute and a drop of an octave on the fiddle. This is Providence, more mature and more assured than before.
A Fig for a Kiss is a mix of tunes and songs, a well designed vehicle for the individual and collective talents of Clodagh Boylan, fiddle; Micheal O'Raghallaigh, concertina/ accordion; John Wynne, flute/whistles; Joan McDermott, vocals and Paul Doyle, guitar/ bouzouki/ bodhran. There is a natural interplay on Junior Crehan's sprightly Lurgadaun Jig, with an increasingly dense sound leading into Dancing Eyes. Precise fiddle opens The Curlew Hills, a second cousin of The Glenbeigh Hornpipe. The bands signature tune, The Providence Reel, is given a special surge of power, as is its follow up, Roscommon Reel. Fred Finn's has a hint of raggedness that gives the music its fourth dimension. Doyle's guitar comes to the fore on an air learned from the McDonagh Brothers of Sligo. He may rarely emerge from the background, yet his playing is the glue that holds the Providence sound together. The songs have a good balance. Smuggling The Tin, refers to cross - border trade during the Second World War. Will Ye Go To Flanders is an 18th century Scotish anti war song. The album closes with a live set, Music In The Glen/ Sean sa Cheo, recorded at Dougie McLean's bar in Taybank, Scotland. Pat Ahern