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BEOGA - Before We Change Our Mind

BEOGA - Before We Change Our Mind
Private Label BEOGA06

Beoga (Gaelic for ‘lively’) is a five piece band from the north of Ireland whose sound lies firmly within the Irish tradition, though they are not afraid to integrate other genres into their sound as well. The band originated in 2002 after an infamous jamming session, and their unique sound features the twin accordions of Damian McKee and multi-instrumentalist Seán Óg Graham, pianist Liam Bradley, All-Ireland bodhrán champion Eamon Murray and, since 2005, the vocals and fiddle of Niamh Dunne.

Six albums in, Before We Change Our Mind is testimony to the growth of the band and a great tribute to their roots. One of the reasons this album is such a joy is that you can hear them keeping up the traditional line, but adding mischievous lines of chords and bass and stunning bodhrán rhythms. If you have a taste for ceili music, you will hear it. Listen for the modern approach of bands such as Danu and Michael McGoldrick and it’s right there. Even Niamh’s Traveller roots shine through when she very sweetly and honestly gives us the song, Wexford Town, by Pecker Dunne.

Every tune is recorded to bring out the best of it and a broad back line sound puts the tune first, in the middle of the room, as it were; the accompaniment gathers round and lifts it to new heights. There is so much variation in the tracks that it leaves you reeling and wondering about what is coming next. An old favourite, like The Bonny Ship, The Diamond, becomes a new favourite. I had never heard Like A Dime, but it is a lovely song that showcases the band’s ability to record stunning instrumentals and then completely support the voice in the songs. Some recordings by mostly instrumental bands crowd out the voice in instrumental breaks and accompaniment, as if the lyrics and the voice were less important. Not so here. The vocals are front and centre and recorded beautifully. The fiddle and the accordion are light and limber and pull you up out of your seat all the way through.

This album is fun, furious and fast changing in pace, and is a brilliant, shining example of how inventive and passionate musicianship makes traditional music live forever!

Annemarie de Bie

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This album was reviewed in Issue 115 of The Living Tradition magazine.