Album of The Week – Caroline Keane – Shine 18th July
Caroline Keane was exposed to a wealth of traditional music from a very young age. Growing up in Limerick, she was surrounded by the musical richness of both Clare and Sliabh Luachra, influences which have become the cornerstone of her uniquely vibrant, passionate and emotive style of concertina playing. Since 2013, she has been a member of the group FourWinds, who’s performances have been described as “An exciting landscape of tunes and lyrics that present Irish traditional music in a modern and creative context”. Having toured extensively throughout Europe, North America & Australasia performing at festivals such as Goderich Celtic Roots Festival, Celtic Colours, Dublin Ohio Irish Fest, Woodford Folk Festival in both solo and ensemble capacities, Caroline has found the time to curate, compile and present Shine, her own debut collection.
Caroline says “I really wanted new and old compositions to sit comfortably alongside each other on this record and I’ve chosen tunes composed by many of the great contemporary composers of traditional music such as Tony ‘Sully’ Sullivan, Liz Carroll, Vincent Broderick, John Brady, Niall Vallely, Tommy Peoples & Josephine Keegan” and Caroline, herself no stranger to composition, inspired by her interaction with traditional music on a local and national level, since studying composition, has penned to beautiful tunes : While the Cat’s Away and The Wine Strand Polka.
At the age of seven, Caroline began taking tin whistle lessons at her local Comhaltas branch, and soon afterwards progressed on to concertina. Under the guidance of her teacher, Noel Hill, she developed proficiency in her art, and by fifteen, was performing both nationally and internationally. In 2006, Caroline was awarded the prestigious Lán Mara award, in recognition of outstanding achievement in national music examinations. She achieved a first class honours while studying Irish traditional music at the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance at the University of Limerick. She has most recently graduated from the university’s Master of Arts in Traditional Irish Music Performance, where she again achieved the coveted first class honours.
Caroline is also a prolific tutor of traditional Irish music. Her versed approach to tutelage is not only a testament to her musical expertise, but demonstrates the patience and empathy of experience. She is a regular performer and tutor at Irish, roots and folk music festivals all over the world, and teaches, lectures and performs regularly around the South West of Ireland. Caroline has recently released a duet recording of traditional Irish music with Uilleann piper Tom Delany entitled Never Say Goodbye, Say Good Luck which has received international critical acclaim since its release. While on home soil, Caroline lives in Dingle, Co. Kerry, where she performs regularly and has been absorbed into the local music scene with open arms.
My thanks to Oonah Derby Redbox Music for CD
1.Charming Lovely Nancy / Sleamhnán Lios Póil / Jazzin’ with Mag Leary (Slides)
Trad. Arr. / Trad. Arr / Trad. Arr.
I’ve been playing Charming Lovely Nancy for years, I found Sleamhnán Lios Póil while pottering through Brendan Begley & Niamh Ní Bhaoill’s beautiful ‘Ceol Duibhneach’, a book of music from West Kerry. Jazzin’ with Mag Leary was a favourite of accordionist and writer Maidhc Dainín Ó Sé.
2.Paddy From Portlaw / The Old Flail / While the Cat’s Away (Jigs)
Trad. Arr / Comp. Vincent Broderick / Comp. Caroline Keane
Paddy From Portlaw is the opening track of Brian Rooney’s ‘The Godfather’. The tune has remained one of my favourites over the years. I’ve always loved Vincent Broderick tunes, particularly The Old Flail and I penned While the Cat’s Away sitting by the fire one evening after Tom left for work in The Bahamas.
3.The Roscommon Reel / The Ballymahon Reel / Father Newman’s (Reels)
Trad. Arr. / Trad. Arr. / Comp. John Brady
The Roscommon Reel has a certain intrinsic energy that I love. The Ballymahon Reel, also called Mrs. Crehan’s was recorded on the classic ‘Contentment is Wealth’ recording by Matt Molloy & Seán Keane and I learned John Brady’s Father Newman’s from flute player Majella Bartley at our local Comhaltas branch many years ago.
4.Carlisle Bay Waltz / The Waltz of Happiness (Waltzes)
Comp. Ciarán Tourish / Comp. Cliff Hamilton
These are two of my favourite waltzes and I always love playing them with Gearóid. I came across Ciarán Tourish’s stunning Carlisle Bay Waltz on an old mp3 player a few years back and absolutely loved it. I paired it with The Waltz of Happiness which I learned from Buttons and Bows.
5.The Apple Blossom Reel / The Flood on the Holm (Reels)
Comp. Niall Vallely / Trad. Arr.
I learned The Apple Blossom from Niall Vallely at a masterclass during my Masters at the University of Limerick. I love the traditional yet quirky nature of the tune. It’s just beautifully musical. The Flood on the Holm is apparently an assembly of three J. Scott Skinner reels called The Birlin Reels. It was supposed that John Doherty learned them from a recording and then misremembered the parts, resulting in a new five part reel.
6.Gráinne’s Jig / Don’t Touch That Green Linnet (Jigs)
Comp. Tommy Peoples / Comp. Tommy Peoples
These are two beautifully written melodies by the master fiddle player and composer Tommy Peoples. I really enjoy simply playing with one other melody instrument. The freedom to weave and sway back and forth, up and down and in and out of the tune together gives a real magic to the music. There’s just something really special about playing with Laura’s melody here, where at times the instruments almost feel melded together.
7.The Murroe Polka / The Taur Polka / Mick Duggan’s Polka (Polkas)
Trad. Arr. / Trad Arr. / Trad Arr.
One of my favourite pastimes is to root around in old notebooks, sheets of music and recordings from lessons over the years. I always come across an old friend I haven’t played in a long time. These are three polkas I resurrected during one such rummage and I’m glad I did.
8.The Gatehouse Maid / Arkle Mountain / The Strawberry Blossom (Reels)
Trad. Arr. / Comp. Tony ‘Sully’ Sullivan / Trad. Arr.
The Gatehouse Maid is a great tune I got from Mícheál Ó Raghallaigh. Arkle Mountain was written by the prolific composer Tony ‘Sully’ Sullivan. The last tune has many different names and many different settings. I love it for its bright and jovial character. I really like Uilleann pipes and concertina together. The similar tone of the two offers great scope for experimenting with the traditional roles of the instruments. For this set we’ve had a little fun playing around with lead and accompaniment.
9.The Wine Strand Hornpipe / The Mountain Top (Hornpipes)
Comp. Caroline Keane / Trad. Arr.
I wrote The Wine Strand Hornpipe while improvising around Eb at the beach one day when it was too cold to get out of my car – that’s the reality of living in West Kerry. I found The Mountain Top in ‘O’Neill’s 1001’ and once I got my fingers around it, I couldn’t stop playing it.
10.The Leading Role / Matt Peoples’ / The Curlew (Reels)
Comp. Liz Carroll / Trad. Arr. / Comp. Josephine Keegan
This great composition by Liz Carroll comes from Trian’s 1992 album of the same name. I chose Matt Peoples’ just because I really like it. The Curlew is a lovely composition by Josephine Keegan.
11.When You’re Gone I Say Your Name (Air)
Comp. Gerry O’Beirne
This is a beautiful piece by my good friend Gerry O’Beirne. I began playing it with Gerry when I moved to Dingle and I’ve only grown to love it more and more as time goes by.
12.Denis Murphy’s Slide / Nelly Mahony’s/ Thadelo’s Slide (Slides)
Trad. Arr. / Trad. Arr. / Trad. Arr.
This is another selection featuring unaccompanied concertina and fiddle. I enjoy the unfettered energy of the music, driven simply by the internal rhythm of the tune and no better man to play some lively slides with than my lofty co-conspirator Jeremy Spencer.
13.The Nightingale / The Rock on the Clyde / The Jig at Port Fleadh (Jigs)
Comp. Seán Ryan / Comp. Bobby MacLeod / Comp. Seán Ryan
The Nightingale has been my favourite tune for years. I happened upon Seán Ryan’s tune collection “The Hidden Ireland” many years ago and I’ve yet to find a tune I don’t love. I find every tune to posses a charming simplicity along with a depth and personality all of its own. The Rock on the Clyde is a composition by Scottish melodeon player and composer, Bobby MacLeod. The last tune is also another of Seán Ryan’s compositions.
14.Batt Henry’s / The Shaskeen (Barn Dance & Reel)
Trad. Arr. / Trad. Arr.
I came across Batt Henry’s Barn dance in the middle pages of a ‘Treoir’ magazine that was stashed in our attic. The Shaskeen was my Granny Mary Clare’s favourite tune, “the River Shaskeen flowed at the bottom of our land” she’d tell me as she lilted it around the house. Her love of music had a huge influence on me. Playing it, I think of her and all the happy moments we shared.