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VARIOUS ARTISTS - Tabhair Mo GhrŠ Go Conamara†

VARIOUS ARTISTS - Tabhair Mo GhrŠ Go Conamara†
Veteran VT162CD†

This is truly a record to be treasured by anyone with any interest in traditional singing in Irish or English from Connemara. Terry Yarnell’s recordings, made in the early 1970s and never published, have now seen the light of day thanks to Veteran Records, with an immense input from Éamonn Ó Bróithe and John Howson enabling the CD to be accompanied by a most informative 35-page booklet.

The singers themselves are some of the finest to come out of the West of Ireland and deserve individual mention: Sean ‘ac Dhonncha, Pádraic Ó Conghaile, Rita and Sarah Keane, Colm Ó Caoidheáin, Tom Pháidín Tom and Cáit Bean Uí Chonluain left a legacy that is still influencing singing in both languages – just listen to this and you’ll see what I mean. The singing here’s fit to be ranked alongside the better-known likes of Joe Heaney or Dara Bán, among others. The Keane sisters’ pivotal role in the development of the family singing is well known, but there’s plenty of high-quality singing here.

The field recordings themselves have been sympathetically optimised and cleaned up and the 22 tracks (13 in Irish, eight in English and one macaronic) should be of interest to a broader cross section of the folk world than the Irish title might lead you to believe (it translates as Bring My Love To Connemara). It certainly had me enthralled, and will be close to my CD player for quite a while.

John Waltham


This review appeared in Issue 131 of The Living Tradition magazine