The Bridge Ceili Band

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Eugene Nolan has led the Bridge Ceili Band since its formation in 1970 in Portarlington, Ireland. Over the course of the following decades, the traditional dance band experienced several changes in its…
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Eugene Nolan has led the Bridge Ceili Band since its formation in 1970 in Portarlington, Ireland. Over the course of the following decades, the traditional dance band experienced several changes in its lineup. One fact that never changed, however, is the placement of a quintet of fiddlers at the forefront of its music.

The band also includes a pair of flutists, a pianist, a drummer, and a button accordion player. Most of its repertoire consists of tunes culled from the Irish Midlands, but once in a while a number hailing from Scotland creeps in. Old and well-known standards are played alongside rarely heard numbers, with reels predominating. Of course, the requisite hornpipes, polkas, and jigs also are included. Occasionally a march is thrown in, as on the band's 1999 release, Sparks on Flags, which also makes use of the tapping sound of Irish step dancers.

The band originally formed for the purpose of competing in a local contest. Members went on to take top honors at the Senior All Ireland competition in 1970. The label Hawk issued an album called Bridge in 1976.