Seán Mac Donnchadha and Máirtín Ó Cuálain

Bruach na Beirtrí

Gael Linn CEFCD 117

1. Contae Mhaigh Eo;  2. Jigs/Poirt: Cóirigh an Capaillin (Saddle the Pony) / Sona Ie chéile,searadh faoi mhéala (Happy to Meet, Sorry to Part);  3. Johnny Seoighe;  4. Amárach Lá 'Ie Pádraig;  5. Reels/Rileanna: Ril Uí Choiléir (Collier's) / Tá mo Ghrá í Meiriceá (My love is in America);  6. Cuaichín Ghleann Néifin;  7. Bríd Thomáis Mhurchú;  8. Reels/Rileunna: Eireaball Fainleoige (Swallow’s Tail) / Iníon Mhic Leoid (Miss McCleod's) / Miogarnach Mhaigí (Drowsie Maggie);  9. Baile an Róba;  10. Amhrán Mhuínse;  11. Poirt Ui Chualáin;  12. An Casaideach Bán
Cover picture Yes, it's another of those Eighties 43 minutes LP re-issues from Gael Linn - but not a word of complaint from me this time, because 8 of the 12 tracks are by that giant of sean nós singing, Seán Mac Donnchadha.  A whole CD of him would have been lovely ... but we must give thanks for what we do get.

Here's a bit of track 3, the lovely Johnny Seoighe, and I hope you'll see what I'm so enthusiastic about.  Seven more songs of that standard make this one of the finest CDs of singing I've heard in ages.  However, you may have noticed that I've made no mention of the other 4 tracks mixed in here - those by Máirtín Ó Cuálain, a box player from Carna, the same Connemara town as Mac Donnchadha hails from.  Probably because of this, the tunes don't sound as out of place on a sean nós record as you might expect.

Ó Cuálain is, on the face of it, a good player - but here he suffers from the failing of so many traditional players un-used to the recording studio ... he plays just a little faster than he is really able to.  In another situation you might scarecly notice it, but sitting next to a master of the slow delivery, it becomes really obvious.  A snatch of track 5, Ril Uí Choiléir (Collier's), will show you what I mean.

Anyway, it in no way spoils a splendid record, and I'll leave you with the first verse of what is probably the finest track, the wonderful An Casaideach Bán.  How's about that, then!

Rod Stradling - 13.12.12

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