Ar an Bhfidil: On the Fiddle

Oisin Mac Diarmada

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Ar an Bhfidil: On the Fiddle Review

by Chris Nickson

Subtitled "Irish Fiddle Music from Sligo," this solo album from Diarmada (the fiddler with the excellent Téada) offers music mostly from Sligo -- although it's quite possible to hear the softer influence of County Clare in some of the pieces, such as "Mary Brennan's." Although still young, Diarmada is well steeped in the traditional music of his native Irish county. The stripped-down settings for much of the music here -- only one piece, "The Tinker's Frolic/John Egan's" goes as far as a trio -- bring out the tunes themselves, especially when he plays solo, as he does on much of the album. Diarmada makes the fiddle sing on pieces like "The Frisco Hornpipe/Walsh's Hornpipe," and there's an obvious, communicated joy in his playing. It might have been good to have had a little more information about the Sligo style in the CD booklet -- explaining the things that set it apart from other regional Irish styles. However, the music alone is quite eloquent, and this album marks Diarmada as one of the country's best up-and-coming players.

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