The traditional dance music of Ireland is played with fervor and excitement by the County Clare-based quintet Moving Cloud. Originally formed to provide the accompaniment for set dancing, Moving Cloud has evolved into a virtuosic concert band. Their self-titled debut album, released in 1994, was named Best Traditional Album by The Irish Echo. Their second album, Foxglove, released in 1998, further established the band as one of Ireland's leading instrumental ensembles. Moving Cloud, named after a classic Irish reel, made their debut appearance at the Old Cloud Hotel in Ennis, County Clare on May 18, 1989. The group brought together five musicians who had established themselves with other bands and solo recordings. Accordion player Paul Brock had recorded an album with De Danaan fiddler Frankie Gavin in 1986. His solo album, Mo Chairdin, was released in 1992. Galway-born composer, arranger and keyboardist Carl Hession had previously performed with Gavin, Joe Derrane, Matt Molloy and Joe Burke and had been a member of the Shaskeen Ceili Band. Hession has recorded four solo albums: The Galway Suite (1984), Echoes of Ireland (1987), Ceol Inne/Ceol Innui (1995) and Tra (1997). A native of Birmingham, England whose parents hail from West Clare, Kevin Crawford (flute and percussion) has lived in Ireland since 1988. In addition to recording with Joe Derrane, Crawford has performed with the septet Grianan and the trio Raise the Rafters. His debut solo album, D'Flute Album, was released in 1995. A major characteristic of Moving Cloud's sound is the twin fiddling of Sligo-born Manus McGuire and Galway-born Maeve Donnelly. McGuire previously toured and recorded three albums with Buttons and Bows, a quartet that also featured his brother Seamus, Jackie Daly and Garry O'Briain. The winner of several All-Ireland fiddle championships, Donnelly is a master of the East Galway fiddle style.
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