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ALALE - Breakfast In Mayo

ALALE - Breakfast In Mayo
Private Label

There seems to be a bit of a vogue these days for Irish musicians to get together with other nationalities and see how well they can blend together their various traditions. This is not only an exciting development which can break down seeming barriers, but is also, as here, a source of great musical pleasure.

The Galician / Spanish / Irish core group of Alale comprises David Cardona, bodhran, darbouka, shaker, cajon flamenco; Esteban Moreno, acoustic guitar; Stephanie Swanton, fiddle, vocals; and Gabriel G Diges, flute, whistles, bamboo flute, electric guitar and bouzouki. They are joined by Sara G Diges, Panderetas; Yvonne McGinley, piano accordion; Ciaran O’Donghaile, uilleann pipes, flute, low whistle; and Carlos Zamara, congas, shakers and cowbells.

Right from the very outset there is a fluency and unity to their arrangements and playing which make you feel that these have never been separate traditions, but were always intended to sit together. There is an intricate interweaving of instrumentation which combines to give a light and airy feel to the tracks, whilst still driving along like the best of sets should, whether that be in a fiesta or a session. Not that the pacier numbers get in the way of sensitivity, with a couple of finely-balanced songs from Stephanie, to both of which she set the melodies herself.

Overall, the balance of all the various elements here works out just superbly, with every musician feeding off the others, joining together in an exciting combination. The album is dedicated to the late Fergal Welsh, and no-one could ask for a finer memorial.

Gordon Potter

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This album was reviewed in Issue 93 of The Living Tradition magazine.