Monday, 16 November 2009
'3' is the magic number
By Sean P. Feeny
This month a trio of three young Donegal fiddle players who are continuing to push the boundaries of Irish traditional music are releasing their first album together.
Fidíl began as a duo with Aidan O'Donnell and Ciaran Ó Maonaigh taking the Irish music world by storm with their 2008 self-titled debut album.
Having used modern technology to create a unique, multi-layered fiddle sound on their album, the two musicians soon brought in fellow Donegal fiddle player, Damien McGeehan, to recreate that sound in a live environment.
Aidan, who is Limerick County Council's current Artist-In-Residence at lectures at the University of Limerick (UL), said it has been an eventful year since the Dunkineely native and Ciaran from Gaoth Dobhair launched their debut album last summer.
"The core idea behind our first album was to record the sound of two fiddles as a duet playing the traditional Donegal music, but with a difference.
"Rather than using conventional traditional music backing instruments, such as bouzouki or guitar, there was a lot of arrangement and layering of the fiddles in our recordings.
"Of course, when it came to performing the music from our debut album live, it was a lot hard for us to recreate and so we asked Damien from Ardara to join us."
Aidan and Damien have known each other since they both started learning to play the fiddle with Seamus Sweeney in Bruckless. "I've known Damien since the age of 12 and he's one of the best musicians I know and we are both very light-minded when it comes to arrangement."
Damien first joined Ciaran and Aidan for their live performances last November and with Fidíl winning a very prestigious award, the road was paved for the duo to become a trio.
Aidan said: "At the time that Damien joined us for our live gigs we had just won The Music Network's 2008 Young Musicwide Award and the prize not only included support for touring but also part-funding for a new album and the obvious choice was to do it as a trio."
In March of this year, The Music Network sent the three Donegal men to the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Annaghmakerrig, Co Monaghan, to spend a week in the artists' retreat.
The Dunkineely man said that probably 90 per cent of the music for their new album, 3, was arranged there and within a week they were back recording with renowned bouzouki player and producer Manus Lunny at his Rosses based studio in Carrickfinn.
Aidan said that he and Damien, who recently graduated with a BA in Irish Music from The Irish World Academy of Music at UL, have very similar ideas when it comes to arrangement.
"Ciaran and I have very similar ideas in terms of arranging, but when Damien and I would get together in Limerick to show each other what we had been working on, it was freaky to see how we were both developing the same concepts individually at the same time.
"Damien is a multi-instrumenalist and a real virtuoso. He has a great mind for arrangements and has been a big addition to the group," he said.
Aidan described the final sound of the new album, 3, which is officially being launched in Temple Bar, Dublin, on Wednesday, as 'raw' traditional Donegal music.
Over the past year the trio have continuously toured abroad performing everywhere from England, Scotland, Latvia, Macedonia and more recently Canada and Iceland.
"It has been fantastic to receive such great receptions and our Donegal music going down a bomb, even with people who normally wouldn't be fans of traditional music."
Fidíl's music has been described as boundary-pushing, but although the musicians' agree that they are 'going forward', Aidan said that their style is still firmly rooted in tradition.
"When we are travelling to gigs around the country, you will hear music from the likes of Frank Cassidy or John Doherty playing in the car.
"Our music is really open for interpretation and people can then make up their own mind, but we have widened our perspective to create our own sound that is that little bit different."
Later this month the trio embark on their Music Network tour which will take them to Kerry, Cork, Kildare and Mayo and as well as the tour their are looking forward to performing at an event very close to their hearts in December.
Aidan said: "We have just been booked to perform at the Frankie Kennedy Winter School in Gaoth Dobhair on December 29 which we are really excited about.
"It's one of the greatest festivals in Ireland and we've all been going to it for years."
With more promotion and touring on the cards, 2010 certainly looks like it will be a busy and successful year for the Donegal trio.
"We are hoping to work and tour abroad more to promote our album and we'll be starting by performing at The Celtic Connections festival in Glasgow as well as going on two further tours with The Music Network, who are continuing to be very good to us," said Aidan.
Fidíl's new album 3 is available to purchase on www.fidilmusic.com
accordion activities Affiliate Program Alan Kelly Alan Shatter Alasdair Roberts Alison Krauss All Ireland Fleadh Altan Andy Irvine antrim archive armagh Arthur McBride Arts Arts and Entertainment Arts Council Arty McGlynn Athlone Baltimore band banjo Bantry Barney McKenna Baroque music Bill Whelan Bluegrass music bodhran Bodhrán bouzouki brendan begley Brendan Dolan Brian Conway Brian Cunningham Brock McGuire Band bunsatty Caoimhin O Raghallaigh Cape Breton Castlebar Cathy Davey Cavan cd ceili celtic Celtic music Celtic rock ceol charlie lennon Chicago chieftains christmas Christmas music Christy Moore ciorras clancy Clancy Brothers classes classical music comhaltas Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann Compact Disc Compass Records concert concertina Concerts and Events Connemara Conradh na Gaeilge Cootehill cork Cork County Council Cork University Press Cormac De Barra County Clare County Leitrim Céilidh Céilí Band Damien Dempsey Dance Dancing at Lughnasa Danny Boy danu Dave Swarbrick De Dannan Declan Sinnott Deezer Derry dervish dkit Dolores Keane Donegal Donegal Fiddle Tradition Donnacha Dennehy doolin drisheen Drogheda Drumkeeran drums Drumshanbo dublin Dubliners dun uladh Dundalk Dáithí Sproule Dán Dónal Lunny early music East Clare Ed Reavy Education Eileen Ivers Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin Eleanor McEvoy Electric Picnic emer mayock ennis European Union Fairytale of New York Feakle feis Feis Ceoil felix dolan festival Festivals fidde fiddle Fiddling Film festival Fleadh Fleadh Cheoil Fleadh Cheoil Competition Céilí Band Jig Comhaltas Fleadh Cheoil fleadh nua flute Folk music Folk music of Ireland folklore france outdoors Francis O'Neill Frank Harte Frankie Gavin frankie kennedy free download Gaeilge gael-linn Gaelic galway Galway Arts Festival George Bernard Shaw gig glor goodman manuscripts Grammy Award Green Linnet Records group Grouse Lodge Guinness guitar harp hinse history holidays hornpipe Iarla Ó Lionáird iPhone Ireland irish Irish American irish arts centre irish dance irish flute Irish language irish music Irish people Irish Recorded Music Association irish times irish traditional music Irish Traditional Music Archive irish whistle IrishCentral IrishTimes irishtune.info Israel Ivan Goff jack coen JAMES JOYCE James Joyce Centre Jig jigs Joanie Madden Joe Derrane John Carty John Doyle John McCusker John McKenna John McSherry john spillane John Wynne Julie Fowlis Junior Crehan Karan Casey Karen Matheson Kathleen MacInnes Kevin Crawford Kilfenora Kilfenora Céilí Band Latin America Le Vent du Nord learn Len Graham Leopold Bloom Lieutenant of Inishmore Literature Liz Carroll Lord of the Dance louisburgh lunasa Lúnasa MacTalla Mor Maggie MacInnes mairtin o'connor Malawi Mandolin Margaret Bennett Martin Carthy martin fay Martin Hayes Martin McDonagh Martin Quinn Mary Bergin Mary Black Maryland Massachusetts Matt Molloy mayo McMahon Merry Sisters of Fate Michael Flatley Michael Rooney Michael Tubridy Micho Russell Mick Moloney mick o'brien milwaukee Monaghan Moya Brennan mp3 Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh music Music festival Music of Ireland Musical composition Máirtín O'Connor Máirtín Ó Direáin Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin Natasha McShane Neil Young New York Noel Hill Northern Ireland npu NUIG o'carolan omagh Orkney Paddy Fahey paddy keenan paddy moloney paddy o'brien Padraig Rynne passionfruit theatre Paul Brady penny whistle pennywhistle Peter Horan Philadelphia Philip Duffy piano pipes Planxty podcast Poetry Pogues Quebec radio radisson Raidió Teilifís Éireann recording reel reels riverdance Robert Downey Jr Ronan Browne Ronnie Drew Roscommon rowsome Royal Irish Academy of Music RTÉ Concert Orchestra Ryan Molloy Saint Patrick's Day school Scoil Éigse scotland Seachtain na Gaeilge Sean Nós Sean-nós song session Set dancing Seán Ó Ríordáin Shanachie Records shannonside Sharon Shannon shetland show singer Singing Skara Brae Sliabh Luachra sligo solas Sorley MacLean st.patrick stephen ducke Streaming media Stuart MacRae summer school Séan O'Riada séan potts teada teetotallers tg4 the forge theatre Tin whistle Tommy McCarthy Tommy Peoples Tommy Sands Toner Quinn Town Hall Theatre trad trad music traditional Traditional Folk and Celtic Traditional music tradmusiconline.com tradschool trocaire Tulla Tulla Céilí Band tune makers tunepal tutorial tv uilleann pipes Ulysses University of Limerick vallely Van Morrison venue Vermont video Violin W. B. Yeats Waterford westmeath whistle willie Willie Clancy Willie Walsh workshop workshops world fleadh