Link to Living Tradition Homepage






Private Label MOY001

The history here is that there has been a resurgence in the fortunes of céilí bands from the north Connacht region in recent years, with that region providing the winners of the prestigious All-Ireland Senior Céilí Band title in 2008 (Inisfree), 2009 (Dartry) and, in 2013 (after an epic recall!), Moylurg. The band is composed predominantly of musicians still in their early 20s; though rooted primarily in Roscommon, it has members from Donegal, Leitrim, Galway, Sligo and the London diaspora and sports musical influences that range beyond the traditional Irish yet maintains a classic Irish céilí band sound.

The majority of the tracks on this, the band’s debut album, project the very life-and-soul, the verve of this ensemble, its characteristic lift and drive imparted by the strong teamwork in the playing and confident musicianship. Reels, jigs, polkas, hornpipes, barndances and the occasional march, all are dispatched with a keen sense of energy and commitment, and there’s nothing to choose between these animated, heftily-steered performances – indeed, the parade of dances brings a certain degree of standardisation to the band sound that’s both welcome and refreshing. There’s also a small handful of lighter-textured selections, including a fleet-footed, flute-led Apples In Winter set and a pair of slow airs, although the latter errs on the side of tastefulness and only really comes to life in the second repeat of Carolan’s Draught where other instruments join the piano keyboard in the melody line. A similarly anonymous ambience affects the three songs, whose status as worthy interludes is undermined by a distinct feeling of flagging even though the singers concerned prove able interpreters and their choice of material (which includes songs by Tommy Sands and Mick Blake) is not in question. And it’s a matter of personal taste no doubt, but I do feel the band’s treatment of Ewan MacColl’s School Days Over comes across as a touch bland with its washes of keyboard accompaniment.

But all in all, the disc still affords ample justification for the Moylurg band’s winning of that all-important award.

David Kidman

Secure On-line mailorder service
Buy this CD online from The Listening Post
The Listening Post is the CD mailorder service of The Living Tradition magazine.
This album was reviewed in Issue 104 of The Living Tradition magazine.