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Harvest Storm

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Album Review

Altan has long been one of the most consistently thrilling of the current crop of traditional Irish groups, and it's difficult to pick a single highlight from their catalog. But if pressed, many fans and critics would pick either Harvest Storm or the equally fine Red Crow. Although the program is a fairly typical collection of traditional reel sets, jigs, Gaelic songs, and slow airs, every track feels as if it were chosen for a unique sort of loveliness — the soaring beauty of the "Rosses Highlands" set, the curiously eerie hush of the traditional wedding song "Dónal Agus Mórag," the chugging energy of "Drowsy Maggie." The singing of fiddler Maighread Ní Mhaonaigh is particularly noteworthy on "Donal Agus Morag" and "'Si Do Mhaimeo Í" (the latter of which offers the unusual opportunity to hear a didgeridoo part on an Irish album). This is one of the last albums the group made with flutist Frankie Kennedy, who died of cancer after making one more album with them, the excellent Island Angel.


Formed: 1983 in Ireland

Genre: World

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

With their Northern Ireland-style twin fiddling and accordion melodies accented by acoustic guitar and bouzouki, Altan has grown into one of the top traditional bands in Ireland. The inspiration for Altan was sparked when Donegal-born fiddler and vocalist Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh met Belfast-born flute player Frankie Kennedy. Ní Mhaonaigh had learned the traditional style of fiddling from her father, Francie, who had learned it from his mother, Roise. Influential Irish fiddler Dinny McLaughlin, who frequented...
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Harvest Storm, Altan
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