Oisin Mac Diarmada,
Ar an Bhfidil
(Ceol, 2002)

Oisin Mac Diarmada spins rousing traditional Irish tunes in his album Ar an Bhfidil. Tunes range from jigs to polkas to reels, creating the dance tunes so popular at celebrations. Most of these tunes were written in the 1920s and '30s. "Walsh's Hornpipe," a composition from the 1970s, also appears, reflecting the many Irish sailors on their journeys. Other pieces, such as the reel "The Morning Thrush" or the polka "The Merry Girl" are close to a century old.

With no lyrics to the upbeat melodies, this collection is perfect for background music at an office or at home.

The collection is sweet and soothing, yet lively and energetic at the same time. All of the tunes set fingers and toes tapping as the bright beat underscores the warm melodies. Mac Diarmada, who hails from the traditional four-man band Teada, plays the fiddle on most tracks, often accompanied by another instrument such as the pennywhistle or bodhran. No modern touches, such as electric guitars or artificial oceans, interrupt the pure energy and joy of the music.

For those who enjoy traditional Irish music in a package concentrating on the skill of the fiddler and the flowing energy of the music, this collection is perfect.

- Rambles
written by Valerie Frankel
published 27 September 2003