TUINNE - Live at
St James' Church, Dingle
BÉAL TUINNE are Seamus Begley, button accordion and vocals; Rita Connolly, vocals and guitar; Lawrence Courtney, vocals and banjo; Eilis Kennedy, vocals and whistle; Jim Murray, guitar; Eoin Begley, concertina and button accordion; Shaun Davey, pedal harmonium and vocals with honorary member; Daithi O'Se, vocals.
THE BAND; Beal Tuinne (pronounced 'Beel-thinneh) is the name of a group of West Kerry-based musicians featuring Seamus Begley and Eilis Kennedy, who joined together with singer Rita Connolly and composer Shaun Davey in 2006 to perform a collection of new songs.
THE MUSIC; Beal Tuinne formed in order to perform a collection
of new songs in Irish, music by Shaun Davey, with lyrics based on the
poems of the late Caoimhin O Cinneide. In the sleevenotes Shaun explains;
- 'The songs on this album are from a small village, west of Dingle in
Co. Kerry, which lies between the wild grandeur of Mount Brandon and the
booming Atlantic over the brow of the hill. It is a place where music
and community go together, music serving as a collective bond, and where
the distinction is blurred between the amateur musician and the professional.......I
was keen to work amidst a music of this kind, to share the experience
with our neighbour, the legendary box-player and sweet singer of soaring
traditional melodies, Seamus Begley, to hear the equally wonderful singing
of my wife, Rita, and to realise an ambition to play a pedal harmonium
in their company.'
THE LYRICS; the songs tell of life in Baile an Mhuraigh ['Parish of Moor'), a small gaeltacht village in the Ballydavid area, west of Dingle, where Caoimhin O Cinneide spent most of his life. Typically the poems convey a man on the outside of the parish, looking in. At times conferring heroic status on neighbours, while fishing or rescuing a survivor from shipwreck; at others there is leg-pulling typical of a close-knit community. Occasionally the poet ventures further afield, nowhere more poignantly than when at sea, rounding Carraig Aonair, (the Fastnet Rock), or lamenting the fate of the exile, far from home in the building sites of Chicago. Sometimes he is solitary, as during a nighttime vigil out in the bay, reflecting on those who drowned. Always Caoimhin seems to have placed his poetry at the service of his neighbours, ready to console and reassure in times of bereavement, or to chronicle the birthdays of his own beloved family.
THE CD; the opportunity to take the music to a wider audience was provided by film-maker, Phillip King, who decided to base a film documentary around the occasion of Beal Tuinne's debut concert in St James' Church, Dingle, in October 2006. This was shown on RTE during the summer, 2007, as part of South Wind Blows 'An Droichead Beo' series in partnership with RTE and the CBI. The production of this CD has been encouraged by the widely favorable response to the film, which can be seen again on RTE over Christmas.
"The poetry of Caoimhín Ó Cinnéide, the
late west Kerry poet and teacher, has been reignited by these musical
diverse settings, composed and arranged by Shaun Davey, and performed
last summer in St. James' Church in Dingle. Davey's deeply sympathetic
compositions scatter stardust across Ó Cinnéide's extraordinary
tales of ordinary lives. The harmonies of Éilis Ní Chinnéide
and Rita Connolly on 'Lá Eigin Fadó Fadó' are a revelation:
celebrating the simplicity of a day spent in good company. Séamus
Begley's reading of 'Ar Muir San Óiche' teetering on the brink
of an uncertainty born of unfamiliarity with the song, is a delicate filament
of a thing, with Eoin Ó Beaglaoi's tiptoeing concertina and Jim
Muarry's restrained guitar shoring up the rear magnificently. A magnificent
meithil, a snapshot of a glorious summer's evening of music."
"We were going to review several albums this month in one of
those, "clean up the attic and catch up" moments. That plan
is out the window. There is only one album to discuss this month. Beal
Tuinne, out on Tara Records. It is the most beautiful Irish album we have
heard in our 25 years of writing about Irish music. The most beautiful.
It is to the deepest core of what it is to be Irish. Perhaps we should
It has never, and will never, be done better than this.
Bill Margeson - The Chicago Irish American News July 08