October on Achill
I have been visiting Achill Island for the past 15 years, in particular Keel Village where musical life revolves around the Annex Inn. It was there that I had my first chance to accompany traditional Irish music. (Not all traditional musicians would be so welcoming to a classical musician). These musicians taught me a lot about not only playing but enjoying music of all genres. My apprenticeship served me well when I began joining the Chieftains in concert and so when the idea of an Irish Album came up, there was really no question that I would have to go to Achill and enlist the help of my friends there. The guitar has always struggled to find it's place in Irish music and owes much to the pioneering of Steve Cooney and Arty McGlynn. For this recording I have done what I did at those music sessions in Keel; I have not tried to be a traditional musician but have presented the music with my own voice. The album features well known session tunes from a pure folk tradition alongside the music of Turlough O'Carolan which serves as a bridge between art and folk music. The 19th century Italian virtuoso guitarist/composer Mauro Giuliani also seemed to have an interest in the music of Ireland and three of his 'Six Irish Airs' are included. I hope that it is as enjoyable to listen to as it was to make! - Redmond O'Toole.