Link to Living Tradition Homepage





NEANSAÍ Ní CHOISDEALBHA - Draíocht Na Feadóige

NEANSAÍ Ní CHOISDEALBHA - Draíocht Na Feadóige
Cló Iar-Chonnacht CICD197

Well known in Ireland and beyond as a broadcaster, Neansaí Ní Choisdealbha shows herself here to be an equally fine fluter. In a generous 21 tracks, she covers a wide range of Irish music from session tunes to slow airs, on flutes and whistles, joined by some excellent accompanists and other musicians. The title of this CD might translate as “Woodwind Wizardry” and that would be no great exaggeration, although Neansaí has no pretentions to be a Finnegan or McGoldrick. She breathes life into these tunes though and it's the warmth and spirit which really comes across in her music, with enough technical skill to make her playing seem the most natural thing in the world.

Most of these tunes are ones I often play myself, being a whistler, so I have to take a step back from the familiar and try to be objective. The material here comes from the heart of the tradition, well loved but sometimes neglected melodies. John Brennan's and George White's Favourite are great old reels, not heard so much in sessions these days. Tommy Mulhaire's Jig is another rarity, but Condon's Frolics is currently in favour. A set of polkas rolls beautifully off the fingers - no slides though. There are some exemplary hornpipes here too: The Navigator is a politically correct title and The Swan is rather less well known. Oíche Nollaig is a tune which is usually only heard for about one week a year, which is a shame. Redican's Mother, The Skylark, The Green Mountain and The Lark On The Strand are all welcome as old friends. Lorna Hunter's Reel puts a name to a tune for me, and Neansaí's Reel is a composition of Michael Hynes who joins Neansaí here to play it. Fiddles, button boxes, jaw harp and the pipes of Neansaí's mentor, the iconic Meaití Jó Shéamuis, provide duets and an occasional kitchen session sound, but most tracks are flute or whistle solos with deft accompaniment.

Slow airs and waltzes are plentiful, some of them true solos. Táimse im Chodhladh, An Buachaillín Bán and Ballyvaughan Bay come from the Irish repertoire, while The Duchess Tree, Westering Home and Scottish Lament have crossed the North Channel at some stage. After more than an hour of fine music, Neansaí launches into the pair of challenging reels, Colonel Rogers and Happy Days Of Youth, before a final house céilí on four reels from Patrick's Night to Ormond Sound. Warm, spirited and inclusive: Draíocht Na Feadóige is a charming album which will bring a smile to the face of any Irish music fan.

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 105 of The Living Tradition magazine.