Link to Living Tradition Homepage






Private Label BF001

This Kerry banjoman, a former All-Ireland champion, has been living in Sweden for a few years now, hence the unusual title of his first commercial recording. He survived a year touring with the Furey brothers, so the Swedish air may be beneficial as a de-tox, and it doesn't seem to have slowed down his music. Brian plays in a no-nonsense style - this is banjo for banjo fans, following in the footsteps of fine old pluckers such as Barney McKenna, Kieran Hanrahan, Mick O'Connor and Tom Cussen, rather than the groovy flamboyance of O'Connor, Kelly, Scahill or Maloney. Mostly: there are one or two fancier tracks, Totanka Yotanka, for instance, which even includes a key change.

Great music fills this album from start to finish. A lovely rumbling version of Tom Billy's Jig gives way to the charming slow reel Bakgården - probably Swedish for something relaxing. Mick O'Connor's Reel is as well played as I've heard recently, and I've played it with the man himself. There's a driving version of Rory Gallagher's Jig, Brian's own Bonks Reel, and a final flourish on The Green Groves Of Erin. Brian even produces that rarest gem, a banjo waltz. He's joined by various friends on guitars, drums, accordion, whistle, piano, and of course nyckelharpa. Karusell is a highly enjoyable album, solid playing and great tunes, plus some seriously psychedelic artwork: well worth a visit to for more information.

Alex Monaghan

Secure On-line mailorder service
Buy this CD online from The Listening Post
The Listening Post is the CD mailorder service of The Living Tradition magazine.
This album was reviewed in Issue 91 of The Living Tradition magazine.