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THE MCKEANEY SISTERS - Cashel Community Hall, Co Fermanagh - 30 June 2016

Rosie Stewart's fine traditional singing is well respected all over Britain and Ireland, but outside County Fermanagh, few seem to be aware that her four sisters are also first rate singers and musicians. Anna, Kathleen, Mary and Peggy joined Rosie for the launch of their first CD as a group in a community hall in the heart of the lovely Fermanagh countryside, with old friend Roisin White as M.C.

People came from all over the county and there was standing room only in the hall as the sisters sang several songs from their new CD, From The Hearth Of Glen. Such gems as the Rambling Irishman, Dan O'Hara and Still I Love Him were delivered with real energy, humour and enthusiasm by the girls, with Roisin White adding a couple of her own Armagh songs as part of the package, while Rosie's husband, Joe, delivered some hilarious monologues! There were jigs and reels from the younger generation of the family, ably assisted by sisters Anna on mouth organ and Kathleen on banjo, playing for some quality sean nós dancing by the family's youngsters, with even a few steps from Peggy!

It's been a long time coming, but this launch was an excellent night of traditional song, music and dance from a family at the heart of the Irish tradition. Roisin White said she'd searched high and low for five sisters singing as a group in any musical genre, but had failed completely - among others, the Beverley Sisters and the Jackson Five had failed the test. This is a truly unique group, and an amazing night with the McKeaney Sisters ended with a well-deserved standing ovation!

Jim Bainbridge