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BEOGA The Incident

The Incident
Compass Records 4499

Beoga is one of the Irish words for “lively”, so it’s no surprise that this Antrim-based lot chose it to describe themselves, teeming as they are with dynamism and energy.  They take their influences from such a range of sources that it would be difficult to list them all.  If I simply mention at random blues, jazz, New Orleans, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and Clifford T Ward, that should give you some idea.  Indeed, the band themselves describe their music as “world music made in Ireland”, but that could also read “Irish music influenced by the world”.

Their latest line-up is Liam Bradley, piano, keys, triangle; Damian McKee, button accordion, backing vocals; Niamh Dunne, vocals, fiddles, viola; Sean Og Graham, button accordion, guitars, bouzouki, banjo, low whistle, backing vocals; and Eamon Murray, bodhran and percussion.

Niamh’s singing voice is light and gentle, yet doesn’t get lost in the multifarious musical ongoings, which are tightly held together, despite their complexities.  The sleeve notes describe the end of The Bellevue Waltz as “we get a bit carried away”- it may be fair to describe it as a transformation from a sweetly-flowing , lightly-ornamented waltz into an anthemic tour de force.  However you describe it, it’s magnificent to listen to.

This group are rightly being heralded as one of the forerunners in Irish music today, as their canny blend of influences deserves that they should be.

Gordon Potter

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This album was reviewed in Issue 85 of The Living Tradition magazine.