Brendan Begley & Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh duo
Swerving from infectious slides to slow airs, sean-nós songs to wild, passionate polkas, Begley and Ó Raghallaigh unleash the raw power and beauty of their Kerry music.
Formed in 2007, they have toured Ireland, New Zealand and the USA. Button accordion player Brendan Begley is best known as a member of Boys of the Lough, while fiddler Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh's "Kitty Lie Over" CD (with piper Mick O'Brien) topped Earle Hitchner's 2003 Best Album list.
Together, they have a wild, dynamic and fresh sound: according to Earle Hitchner, "theirs is some of the most maddeningly nourishing, elevating and mesmerizing Irish traditional music you'll hear today". They released 'A Moment of Madness' in 2010, which made the Irish Times’ top 10 trad CDs of the year and garnered impressive critical acclaim at home and abroad.
Brendan Begley is bursting with the wild and beautiful music of West Kerry. As a singer he is a gentle giant. On the accordion, he is a force of nature. His is music that could not exist were it not for the mountains, seas and storms of his native Dingle Peninsula. Born into a famous musical family, the youngest of nine children, Brendan soaked up the music and song of West Kerry from an early age. Slides, polkas, songs and slow airs all run through his veins.
He has four acclaimed solo albums to his name, as well as numerous recordings with the groups Boys of the Lough and Beginish. With the Boys of the Lough, he has toured extensively throughout the United States, and has been featured repeatedly on the Garrison Keilor Show. He has recorded with The Chieftains, Stocktons Wing, Na Casadaigh, Seán Davey, etc.
Has worked with Philip King,Niamh Ní Bhaoill and Nuala O Connor on numerous tv productions for TG4 including Caipíní,Sé Mo Laoch and Cérbh É¿
With fiddler Caoimhin O Raghallaigh, he released 'A Moment of Madness' in 2010, which made the Irish Times’ top 10 trad CDs of the year and garnered impressive critical acclaim at home and abroad.
More recently he is joined by his family, comprising sons Bréanainn (Guitar), Cormac (Concertina), Conchubhair (Accordion) and daughter Cliodhna (Fiddle and sean-nós dancing), carrying on the long line of music from Corca Dhuibhne and the Begley family. They played in Cape Breton in October of 2009, at the Celtic Cuban Festival in April 2010 and in Moscow in November 2010, and have performed in venues all over Ireland.
Born in Dublin in 1979, Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh has firmly established himself as a major figure in Irish traditional music. His 2003 album 'Kitty Lie Over' with Mick O'Brien earned him worldwide recognition. His 2007 release 'Where the One-Eyed Man is King' led to his being commissioned to write music for film and theatre, including a month-long run at the famous Abbey Theatre in Dublin.
In 2010 he released three albums: A Moment of Madness' with Brendan Begley; 'Triúr sa Draighean' with Martin Hayes & Peadar Ó Riada and 'Comb Your Hair and Curl It' with Mícheál Ó Raghallaigh and Catherine McEvoy.
He has been the subject of numerous television programmes, including a documentary where he teaches Oscar-winning actor Jeremy Irons to play the fiddle.
Caoimhín also has a healthy following outside of traditional music, having performed alongside the likes of Sam Amidon, Amiina, Iarla Ó Lionáird, the Afro Celt Sound System, The Waterboys, Norman Blake (Teenage Fanclub).
""theirs is some of the most maddeningly nourishing, elevating and mesmerizing Irish traditional music you'll hear today". "Earle Hitchner. September 26th, 2007, IRISH ECHO
"The music of this duo is joyous indeed, sparkling with energy and life. A feeling of exuberance and spontaneity drips from this recording, its subtle strokes and inventive turns a true testament to these musicians’ characters. The beauty is in the small touches, the sounds that are not often allowed to enter into studio-recorded traditional music; the clattering of accordion keys, the tapping foot, the wheezing of the bellows, the squawk of strings tested to their limits, the momentary lull, dip and suspense as we slip into the world of the next tune. It is these small liberties that make the recording truly captivating, drawing us into the magic of the tunes, illustrating a wild imploding core where all melodic possibilities reside. The voices of fiddle and accordion blend seamlessly and it is sometimes hard to distinguish which sounds emanate from whom. Each player has their moments at the fore that feel like spontaneous and selfless outbursts, rather than passages of measured arrangement. As the duo strike this rare and tentative balance I am reminded of the intertwining and mutually supportive fiddles of Padraig O’Keefe, Denis Murphy and Julia Clifford’s Kerry Fiddles. The groove is often relentless, especially in the polkas so distinctive of Begley’s West Kerry style. Between every rock solid beat there is a whorl of shifting melodic ornamentation, a line of perfectly tangential phrasing – a quality best exemplified by the tearaway ride of The Green Cottage / Glin Cottage set and Christy Leahy’s P & O Polka. Caoimhín’s occasional use of the Norwegian hardanger fiddle adds new and welcome shades to a number of tunes, notably his solo rendition of Tá Dhá Gabhairín Buí Agam / The Glen Cottage. Its extra layer of sympathetically resonating strings create a rainbow of acoustic effects that give modal depth without adding extraneous harmony. This is a rare record that truly manages to stretch the inventiveness of the tradition with sensitivity. While still allowing the tunes to speak their part, Brendan and Caoimhín explore new spectrums of timbre, ornamentation and feeling, creating big worlds from their little wooden boxes."Fíacha O’ Dubhda, http://othermusics.wordpress.com/