Guest Author - Mary Ellen Sweeney
When I first heard of Altan---a long time ago---it didn’t sink in that it was a musical group under discussion. I thought the person was talking shorthand for Loch Altan in Donegal, Ireland. As it turns out, the Irish traditional music group, Altan, is named for the Loch, which is near Mount Errigal in the Blue Stack Mountains of Donegal which is near Gweedore, which is near Annagry. Enya territory. There's just something about the place that brings out the best in music-makers!
Altan produces some very fine Donegal-style fiddling and singing, and some of the best Irish traditional music to be heard anywhere.
The group has produced many albums and they are all over-the-top awesone. This is a prolific group that maintains the energy, whimsy, and light-heartedness that Irish music is so well-known for. It remains only for a body to select the ones with their favorite tunes. Singer/fiddler Mairéad ní Mhaonaigh speaks Donegal Gaelic (a dialect all its own) and to hear her sing “Cailleach an Airgid” (The humorous traditional song, “The Hag with the Money,”) swelled my heart.
But don't take it just from me. Read the reviews for the albums listed below. They're all five stars in my book...and that's no faint praise.