Téada: Coiscéim Coiligh review – Tunes that will stand the test of time

A treasure trove of newly minted tunes and pristine choices from the last century

Coiscéim Coiligh
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Artist: Téada
Genre: Traditional
Label: Gael Linn

Time and tide may wait for no one, but Téada have navigated both with an enviable consistency over a period of 21 years. Their latest collection is characteristically eclectic, jam-packed with traditional and contemporary tune choices that rattle and hum on the back of their thoughtful arrangements.

Oisin MacDiarmada’s subtle fiddle is still central to the band’s sound, but so are flute, accordion, guitar and bouzouki. Tristan Rosenstock’s jig Farewell to Stoneybatter is paired surprisingly successfully with the slow air An Raibh Tú ag an gCarraig? and March at Kilmore, the set a typical reflection of a band at home in their own skin, yet still hungry for ferreting out the unexpected in the familiar. John Sheahan’s march Among Friends is another lovely example of Téada’s capacity to borrow fine tunes and make them their own.

Seamus Begley’s vocals are a joy, particularly on The Snowy Breasted Pearl. Much is made of his duet with John C Reilly on Eileen Óg but it is by far the least intriguing addition on an album laden with more subtle riches.

What stands out most of all from this collection is the treasure trove of newly minted tunes jostling alongside pristine choices from the last century. The urge to hear this music live is irrepressible: surely a sign of a collection with a long playing future.

Siobhán Long

Siobhán Long

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