A Celebration of Altan

25th Anniversary Celebration (Compass Records)


By Ronke Oyekunle

The world renowned Altan's latest album, 25th Anniversary Celebration (with the R.T.E Concert Orchestra), demonstrates traditional Irish music at its best. Altan still stays true to traditional Irish music, but also mixes in more modern sounds. Their contemporary twist on Irish traditional music and originality is what has given Altan their longevity in Irish music.

The album begins with "Is the Big Man Within?/Tilly Finn's Reel" a classic sound with a moderate upbeat tempo. Then a slowdown occurs with the song "Molly na gCuach Ní Chuilleanáin" featuring the vocals of Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh, an icon all on her own. "Dónal agus Mórag" begins with a spark of guitar and continues with a repetitive chorus with a moderately graced upbeat tempo.

The all instrumental "A Tune for Frankie" tells a story of twists and turns with each thumbing of the strings of the fiddles and violins. This song allows you to create your own meaning and words with its absence of lyrics, but contains a nice drive of music that may guide your mind in the story it tells. "The Sunset" mimics "A Tune for Frankie" with its all instrumental sound, except the main instruments are not strings, but the woodwind section.

"Comb Your Hair and Curl It/Gweebarra Bridge" may have the most modern sound of the album with its classic rock sounding guitar. The changes in tempo create a vision of a woman patiently doing her hair, but then rushes to finish to get to her destination on time. The crying of the fiddle and wind instruments stay true to the traditional sounds of Irish music. By the end of the album, the reason for Altan's longevity becomes apparent.

Visit www.compassrecords.com for more information on Altan and their latest album.