Friday, February 25, 2011

Galway Afternoon

Joe and Joanie Madden’s album A Galway Afternoon will have you smiling straight away.

Through the magic they create with flute and whistle and accordion, and the love between father and daughter, they have you in a sunny -- or maybe not so sunny -- Galway afternoon, right from the opening set of jigs. They kick things off with The Greenfields of Woodford / The Hole in the Hedge/Seamus Cooley's and travel on through a well spent hour of more jigs, many reels, a hornpipe or two, an air, and a set of waltzes.galway afternoon cover

You’ll have met Joanie here along the music road before, in her role as founding member of the top notch band Cherish the Ladies, her work with the Pride of New York group, and her generous ways of lending her flute and whistle skills to support other musicians. Joe, her dad, was born in east Galway, and emigrated to New York, where Joanie was born and raised. In New York, Joe had a band which turned into a thirteen piece orchestra and lasted for three decades. Though Joanie points out that he was a bit hard on her while she was learning her music, it was, she says, because he knew she had gift of the music in her.

The pair were in Galway one June a few years back. Joanie convinced her dad to go into the recording studio and lay down some tunes. Studio work was never Joe’s favorite thing to do, but it’s clear from the music here that he got into the spirit of things and let the music lead him on to give his own gifts of energy and passion. You hear that clearly on The Little Thatched Cabin / The Coal Miner / The Ormond Sound set of reels, and all through the tunes, really.

Joanie’s solo on The Boys of the Lough is a fine showcase for her talents, which are also apparent through all the tunes. Her brother John adds energy with drums, well shown on the tunes in that set and on other tracks as well. Charlie Lennon and Gabriel Donohue also join in, on piano and guitar.

As life plays out, back home in New York Joe Madden took a fall not long after that afternoon in Galway, a fall that was to bring his life to close. In her liner notes, Joanie writes that he was happy his legacy would go on, and glad that they had taken that afternoon in Ireland to put their sharing of the gift music down for others to hear. It is a record filled with the joy of music, and of sharing family and friendship through music. Real stuff, real Irish, straight up, and just your right companion for a sunny afternoon or a rainy evening.

you may also wish to see

Music Road: Cherish The Ladies: A Star in the East
Music Road: pride of new york
Music Road: Music road trip New York City: Irish Musicians

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posted by Kerry Dexter at


Blogger Anjuli said...

What a special post- it is always interesting to hear the real life things which surround an album.

6:06 PM  
Anonymous wandering educators said...

kerry - this is so beautiful and touching. thank you!

9:00 PM  

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