Niamh Ni Charra,
Cuz: A Tribute to Terry Teahan
(Imeartas, 2013)

Musicians often do a cover in honor of an artist they admire.

Herself an award-winning performer, Niamh Ni Charra went a step beyond, assembling a group to develop an album in tribute to Terry "Cuz" Teahan, a mentor to her and many others in the Irish music tradition.

The album titled Cuz features traditional music as well as some of the more than 80 original tunes composed by Teahan, a concertina and accordion player who emigrated from his native County Kerry to Chicago in 1928. Over the next six decades he became one of the most beloved and respected musicians in the Irish community.

In 1986, at the age of 81, he returned to Ireland to visit relatives. A niece took him to see a local group playing for tourists. Among them was Niamh, a young girl still in primary school. Cuz was taken with her talent on the concertina and fiddle and spent a short time chatting with her and her father, making predictions about her future that did come to pass. Later he sent her a tape of tunes and advice, which she said continues to provide inspiration for her own career.

The tracks are a lively and enjoyable mix of slides, polkas, barn dances and jigs, with a few reels thrown in for good measure. Among my favorites is the beautiful track No. 5, sung by Niamh.

Joining Niamh on this tribute album are Seamus Begley, accordion and vocals; Matt Griffin, guitar; Donogh Hennessy, guitar; Dominic Keogh, bodhran; Cathall King, flute; Anne McAuliffe, flute; Nicky McAuliffe, fiddle; Donal Murphy, accordion; Tony O'Flaherty, djembe, piano and shakers; Tommy O'Sullivan, guitar; Liz Carroll, fiddle; Jimmy Keane, piano, accordion, and Mick Moloney, banjo.

An accompanying booklet includes much information on the life and career of Cuz as well as on the musicians involved in this wonderful project. If you enjoy Irish music you'll thank Niamh and her colleagues as you play and replay this album.

[ visit the artist's website ]

music review by
John Lindermuth

28 September 2013

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