CD of the week and the first ever traditional music album to receive a 5 star review in The Irish Times, Fidil's latest CD '3' has been described as "...a milestone in Irish Music!" and a "timeless album and a truly essential addition to your collection".
All hailing from Donegal, what makes Fidil's achievement even more remarkable is the fact that they didn't use any conventional accompaniment such as guitars, bodhrans, pianos etc. It is their diverse and ground-breaking use of fiddles coupled with the depth of lore and tunes of the Donegal fiddle tradition which make Fidil one of the most unique and entertaining ensembles in Irish Traditional Music.
Fidil's line-up is composed of three Donegal fiddle players: 2010 TG4 Young Musician of the Year Aidan O'Donnell, Ciarán Ó Maonaigh, a former TG4 Young Musician of the year and nephew of Altan's Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh, and Damien McGeehan, whose unique ability to bring different sounds and techniques to the fiddle helps see Fidil go boldly where no Trad band has gone before.
Fidil were formed in 2008 when Ciarán Ó Maonaigh & Aidan O'Donnell released a duet CD of the same name to widespread critical acclaim. They quickly morphed into a 3 piece and were awarded the Young Musicwide Award by Music Network in 2008.
Over the past year they have toured extensively, including New York, London, Canada, Iceland, Latvia, Germany, Italy and Macedonia.
Fidil created a bang in November 2009 with the release of their album '3' which was described as “...a masterclass in the marriage of tradition and musical exploration, and a milestone in traditional music." (Siobhan Long, Irish Times) and "a reminder of how magnificent the fiddle can be, especially when these instruments are in the hands of such young masters...another timeless album and a truly essential addition to your collection." (Seán Laffey, Irish Music Magazine)
"...a masterclass in the marriage of tradition and musical exploration, and a milestone in traditional music."Siobhan Long, Irish Times
""A trio of undeniable range, vision, and chops. Ciaran O Maonaigh, Aidan O'Donnell, and Damien McGeehan arerecalibrating how the sound of the fiddle is received and perceived in Irish traditional music, and are charting newterritory for the instrument in the process. This is expansion through reduction, compelling the listener toponder a rich, rewarding sonic palette produced by threefiddles and nothing else. Enchantment inevitably follows."Earle Hitchner, Irish Echo 2010
"One of the most challenging and beautifully austere albums of the last fifty years."Sean Laffey, Irish Music Magazine
"A trio of undeniable range, vision, and chops. Ciaran O Maonaigh, Aidan O'Donnell, and Damien McGeehan are recalibrating how the sound of the fiddle is received and perceived in Irish traditional music, and are charting new territory for the instrument in the process. This is expansion through reduction, compelling the listener to ponder a rich, rewarding sonic palette produced by three fiddles and nothing else. Enchantment inevitably follows."Earle Hitchner, Irish Echo 2010
"Sensational - the best release I've heard in 2011 - truly jaw-dropping and inspiring "BBC's Scotland's Bruce MacGregor on Fidil's second CD, "The Old Wheel of Fortune"
"Right from the opening reels, from the repertoire of the legendary John Doherty, the trio’s combination of energy and commitment to tradition as well as innovation is exhilaratingly apparent."The Scotsman on Fidil's second CD, "The Old Wheel of Fortune"
"CD CHOICE : The Old Wheel of Fortune Fidil Music **** No fiddles were hurt in the making of this album, although many were picked, plucked, strummed and bowed in manners most unlikely. Donegal trio Aidan O’Donnell, Ciarán Ó Maonaigh and Damien McGeehan are back with a vengeance and verve that many fiddlers would kill for. Who knew that the fiddle could be such a throaty and percussive force, as it is on Fidil’s cocky alternative take on The Rocky Road to Dublin? Or that it could handle the bass lines in The March of the Mín Na Toiteán Bull with such a rich mix of earthiness and joie de vivre? Fidil have grown up since their groundbreaking debut, 3, in 2009. Then, they didn’t spare on flair or panache, and they were no slouches in the technical department either. The mark of the two intervening years since their debut can be found in the pacing and thoughtfulness of the tune choices and pairings. The title track hints at the trio’s newfound affinity for plumbing the emotional depths of a tune without plunging into full-blown melodrama. Their choice of the Scottish air Herr Roloff’s Farewell is redolent of the pensive playing of Sligo fiddler Seamus McGuire on his 1995 album, The Wishing Tree , and comes replete with the most delicate closing pizzicato, as if the trio are tiptoeing away from the tune, lest it spot them leaving and insist on another turn around the room. Donegal’s rich repertoire is writ large across Fidil’s canvas, and the influence of the iconic Ardara fiddler John Doherty is palpable both in the tune choices and the unapologetic shape of their fiddle lines, particularly on the pair of hornpipes, The Low Level and The Star . But it’s Fidil’s ability to trade pinprick-precise unison playing with careening, criss- crossing melody lines that knocks sparks off the floor on The Old Wheel of Fortune . Fresh and inventive, Fidil realise their ambitions with a boldness that’d put a pep in the step of the most resistant listener. "Irish Times CD CHOICE 23/12/11