Téada: Ainneoin na Stoirme

Ainneoin na stoirme\In spite of the storm
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Artist: Téada
Genre: Traditional
Label: Gael Linn

All human and musical life is here, lurking between and beneath the notes of Téada’s latest collection. Sligo fiddler Oisín MacDiarmada and his compadres have always taken a forensic approach to their music, meticulously marrying like-spirited tunes with an understanding of the finer points of ensemble arrangements.

Sligo's rich musical landscape has suffused Téada's sets, yet they embrace new tune compositions with verve as well. This, their fourth Gael Linn release (launched at the label's 60th birthday celebrations at Dublin's National Concert Hall), heralds the arrival of an unlikely sixth member to the fray. West Kerry box player and singer Seamus Begley brings a timely glint in the eye along with a saddlebag of songs with him and, remarkably, it works – seamlessly.

The intimacy of Begley's voice and the chutzpah of his freewheeling polkas and slides knit new patterns into Téada's mix. The delicacy of Begley's reading of Pé in Éireann Í demands a measured, almost bare-boned backdrop that richly counters the precision-engineered arrangements of the set that follows, bookended by The Jig of the Dead and Dublin fiddler James Kelly's The Bird's Call. Damian Stenson's flute excels here, its sinuous lines luring guitar, box and fiddle on a most merry of dances.

The deconstruction of the reel, Gone for His Tea, reveals its internal mechanisms beautifully; its companion, the almost baroque Joe Derrane's (another Kelly composition) underscores both Téada's restrained finesse and the rich pickings of contemporary composers within the tradition. There are occasional incongruous choices (such as Begley's inclusion of Marty Robbins's Saddle Tramp), but the thoughtful, textured arrangements of this newly extended six-piece band are what linger.

The title Ainneoin na Stoirme is a pithy reference to the robustness of our music, which Téada contend will not only survive but thrive despite the vagaries of these recessionary times. Another typically thoughtful and thought-provoking excursion from a band still hungry for tunes – and, belatedly, for songs. teada.com
Download: Gone for His Tea, Pé in Éireann Í

Siobhán Long

Siobhán Long

Siobhán Long, a contributor to The Irish Times, writes about traditional music and the wider arts