TEADA "Inne Amarach"
NOT FOR NOTHING IS Teada's new release titled "Inne Amarach," Irish for "Yesterday/Tomorrow." The double-disc set contains a DVD primer on County Sligo house party music, among other things, and documents Teada's strong ties to that rural, northwest Ireland tradition. The accompanying CD captures the young Celtic band in a purely instrumental setting for the first time, infusing jigs, reels, polkas, marches, hornpipes and other tunes with vitality and soulfulness.
Despite some lineup changes in the past few years, Teada has developed a cohesive and invigorating sound, with fiddler (and group founder) Oisin Mac Diarmada leading the way. His singing tone, melodic embellishments and lively rhythmic attack make for a compelling combination from the outset, as the band moves through a delightfully woven set comprising "Lady Montgomery," "Follow Me Down," "Give the Girl Her Fourpence" and "Tie The Bonnet."
Even so, as the album unfolds, it's clear that Mac Diarmada, who doubles on piano, doesn't play a dominating role. The arrangements colorfully accommodate all the players, including flutist Damien Stenson, a new recruit, and button accordionist Paul Finn, who excels at creating dancing melodies and resonating textures. The band salutes many of its influences here, not just musicians who hail from Sligo, and gracefully punctuates the album with "Nora Criona," a slow jig "descriptive piece."
-- Mike Joyce