Ciaran O'Maonaigh: fiddle
Dermot McLaughlin: fiddle
John Blake: guitar, bouzouki

A nephew of Altan's celebrated fiddle player and lead singer Mairead Ni Mhaonaigh, whose composition "The High Fiddle Reel" he performs on the opening track, Ciaran O'Maonaigh demonstrates at twenty years of age a command of the traditional idiom and of the Donegal style of fiddle playing in particular which few achieve even with a lifetime of practice of the art. On this, his debut album, O'Maonaigh handles with ease the most demanding techniques, high cuts, droning, intricate bow work, which contribute to giving Donegal fiddle music its characteristic sound, achieving a sound which is polished and yet appropriately earthy and energetic. Not surprisingly, the fine selection of tunes is full of staple highlands, barndances, strathspeys and reels, many associated with the Dohertys, Frank Cassidy, and other great Donegal players. The vigorous Dermot McLaughlin joins O'Maonaigh for a bit of "reversing" (playing in octaves) on a couple of tracks, including a most spirited "Pinch of Snuff." A most intriguing selection is "Slan le Ceol" (Farewell to Music), a descriptive piece said to have been given to Biddy from Muckross by the fairies, while the unusual jig "The Policeman's Holiday," from John Doherty's playing, challenges O'Maonaigh with its chromatic explorations. Throughout, John Blake's guitar and bouzouki accompaniments are their usual models of perfection and inspiration. This is simply a must for fans of Donegal fiddle music.

Rating: ****

Price: $19.99
Our Catalogue 
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1. Reels: Miss Paterson's Slippers / Brogan's Fancy / The High Fiddle Reel
2. Highland & Strathspey: The Cat that Kittled in Jamie's Wig / South of the Grampians
3. Reel: Loughisle Castle
4. Jigs: Mulvihill's / Wallop the Spot
5. Reels: Bean a' Ti ar Lar / Ril na nGlor
6. Barndances: Con Cassidy's
7. Highlands: Green Grow the Rushes / James Byrne's
8. Slow Air: Inion a' Bhaoghailligh
9. Reels: The Pigeon on the Gate / The Blackberry Blossom / Over the Water to Bessie
10. Hornpipes: The Loughside Hornpipe / Stepping Stones 
11. Descriptive Piece & Reel: Slan le Ceol
12. Reel: The Pinch of Snuff
13. Barndances: Mick Carr's
14. Jigs: Port Rann na Feirste /The Policeman's Holiday
15. Hornpipe & Reel: Donegal Castle / The Drummer