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NA CASAIDIGH - Fead An Iolair (The Eagle’s Whistle)

NA CASAIDIGH - Fead An Iolair (The Eagle’s Whistle)
Gael Linn CEFCD108

If you are a serious collector of Irish music and you do not have this album, there’s a hole in the eighties section of your CD rack. The Casaidigh family has an important role in traditional music history and this re-release of Fead An Iolair (1984) is a chance for us to get to know about Na Casaidigh in an iconic period where acoustics married electronics.

Straight in with Thomas Burke, sounding traditional and quite serious, but by and by playfulness sets in along with hauntingly beautiful vocals in the background. Then suddenly a burst of crystal clear uilleann pipes, piano and percussion - this arrangement shows off, in one track, the versatility of the band and the creative way they have used their talents, adapting to the whims of the eighties.

Track by track, Na Casaidigh demonstrate a kinship to the music of The Bothy Band and the Chieftains. The Monsoon Set strongly reminds me of the latter because of its joyful sound and the combination of the instruments. The vocal numbers, like Caisleán Uí Néill, brings the Bothy Band to mind but then Dúil (sort of pop music), Mo Chleamhnas (straight country) and their title number, Fead An Iolair (ambient), are so completely different in style that I really can't wholly compare Na Casaidigh to any of the two bands I mentioned. Nor should I...

Feed An Iolair, to me, is a perfect example of how to keep traditional music alive. Mixing styles, and instead of turning away from modern developments in music, incorporating them. Na Casaidigh is surely among the first traditionally based bands to fully understand this and use it to their advantage.

Learn something every day; get this album and complete your collection!

Annemarie de Bie

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This album was reviewed in Issue 109 of The Living Tradition magazine.