Irish instrumental and vocal group playing mainly traditional songs and tunes. Many tunes are specifically from Northern Ireland.

Liner notes to "Blackwaterside".

1. Johnny Boyle's/ King of the Pipers.

Two jigs from the Donegal traditional associated with the playing of JAMES BYRNE, a fiddler who lives in Glencolumbkille, and the DOHERTY CLAN, who were wandering tinkers and fiddlers and left a great legacy of music wherever they went.

2. Dark haired Lass/ Biddy from Mackross.

Sean Maguire's. The Dark haired Lass is a popular reel at sessions throughout the country. The second reel is from the playing of James Byrne who claims that Biddy was a famous lilter from the townland of Muckross, not too far from Glencolumnkille, who lilted at dances in the locality when no fiddlers were available.

3. 'Stór, A Stór, A Ghrá.

A popular children's love song which Mairéad learned from her father, Proinsias Ó Monaonaigh, but this particular version is from Nneillí Ní Dhomhnaill.

4. Strathspey/ Con McGinley's/ The Newfoundland Reel. (Strathspey and two reels)

The Band learned this unusual strathspey from the latest member, Dermot Byrne. Con McGinley is a great fiddler from Glencolumbkille who now lives in Chester and has given us a wealth of tunes, and the last tune in this selection is associated with another well respected fiddler, Vincent Campbell from Glenties, Co. Donegal.

5. Tá Mé 'Mo Shui.

One of the most beautiful love songs in the Donnegal tradition. The man is so much in love he is in pain as he yearns for his sweetheart and even the banshee, whom he asks to relieve his ache, cannot help him and tells him that when love goes to the heart it cannot be released.

6. An Gasúr Mór/ Bunker Hill/ Dogs Among the Bushes.

Derry fiddler, Dermot McLaughlin, brought this tune to our attention. It is a hornpipe associated with the late John Doherty. Bunker Hill is a reel that Dermot Byrne has put his own stamp on and we finish with a well known reel, Dogs Among the Bushes.

7. Molly Na gCuach Ní Chuilleanáin.

A song of lost love where the man threatens to even give up drink to have his Molly back ... now that is true love.

8. Jenny Picking Cockles/ Farewell To Leitrim/ John Doherty's (reels).

The first and final reels in this selection are from the playing of John Doherty. The version of Jenny Picking Cockles is from an old recording of the late Neilly Boyle of Dungloe, Co Donegal. Neilly was an amazing traditional fiddler and also played jazz at dances around the Rosses and Gaoth Dobhair areas of Donegal.

9. Ar Bhruach Na Carraige Báine.

Mairéad learned this song from Len Graham, the well known Co. Antrim singer. He put this version together from the singing of Bríd Mhic Dhonnchadha of Feenish Island, Connemara, and a version also appears in "Ceol Tíre".

10. The Dance of the Honeybees.

This is a newly composed hornpipe by one of the most talented writers in traditional music, Charlie Lennon, from Co. Leitrim.

11. Blackwaterside.

It is unusual to find a love ballad in traditional music written from a woman's perspective. Mairéad first heard this song from Gráinne Nic Mhaonagail from Dobhar, Co. Donegal. The song was collected in Co. Wexford from a traveller.

12. A tune for Frankie.

Frankie Kennedy was from Andersontown in Belfast. He played flute and was known as one of the top flute players in the country. He married Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh and the two of them along with Ciaran Curran and Mark Kelly founded Altan over ten years ago. Sadly, Frankie died in September '94 after a long struggle with cancel. He will always remain an inspiration to all who loved and knew him.

Last updated on 08/02/2011