Altan is the word that comes to mind for many people across the world when they hear traditional Irish music. A powerhouse of a band over the last 30 years, they were founded by Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh and the late Frankie Kennedy. The influences of Donegal and the Irish language are never far from their work, and a must have addition to any musician’s library of books is their tune book – “Altan – The Tunes” – compiled by their current accordionist, Martin Tourish (well known to all of us in Laois for his own great work and influences).
This article is part of a series of articles on selected traditional Irish musicians and CD’s. At Spink Comhaltas, we believe it is critically important to support and promote our musicians, and never more so that at this time as the Covid-19 pandemic has ravaged the music industry.
Having role models and heroes is important in any walk of life, and this is true of musicians too. Some of our strongest musicians who have developed with Spink Comhaltas over the recent years have learned as much of their music from listening to these artists – both on CD and live – as they have learned in formal classes. We encourage our current generation of young musicians – and their parents – to consider building up their own collection of music. And while we live in a world of streaming, there is something special about being able to read the sleeve notes on an album that an artist has put a lot of energy and effort into that will always be much more meaningful than listening on a streaming service.
The musicians we have featured here are outstanding performers. Different music styles, instruments, and interpretations will appear – as well a mix of solo and group music. For most of the musicians featured, the CD featured is one of a number of works by that artist.
Spink Comhaltas promotes traditional Irish music across Laois, Carlow, Kilkenny, Kildare and further afield. With excellent teachers and resources, as well as one of the largest music instrument banks in the country, Spink Comhaltas is an excellent place to begin your journey in traditional Irish music.
In addition to teaching and promoting music, Spink Comhaltas also fosters connections – with musicians across different counties and counties, different genres of music, and other artistic and creative groups. Check out our website for more details.