Thursday, July 14, 2011

Beoga: How to Tune a Fish

How do you tune a fish? The wry and coming coming at things from and angle perspective that question implies infuses the music offered by the five members of the band Beoga on their album How to Tune a Fish. A like titled set opens the music, and it draws you right in, just as though you were hearing them at a session in their based in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. Interesting choice of instruments they bring to the music, too: two accordions, piano, fiddle, and bodhran.

irish band beogaThe second set, Sticky Bun Slides (the title comes from a conversation bodhran player Eamon Murray had with an Italian friend) keeps things dancing right along , and moves into the song Home cookin’ from American songwriter Rick Danko, with fiddler Niamh Dunne stepping up to sing, adding a bit of an Irish edge to the country blues in the piece. Ballymacaldrick is a lovely slow tune from accordion player Damian McKee, inspired by his home place in Antrim.

Seán Óg Graham handles the other accordion, and on occasion guitar as well. He also composed a number of the tunes, including that one about fish tuning. Liam Bradley , whose background includes world wide composing and arranging for Irish dance, is on keyboards for the group.

It’s a lively mix of tradition and innovation they bring here -- in fact How to Tune a Fish seems to lean a bit more toward a trad focus than several of the band’s earlier albums. Not to say they don’t bring in other things as well, including the country take on Home cookin’ and a vaudeville song called Come Out of the Rain, which they clearly have a fine time doing. Songs and tunes both, it is apparent that these five really enjoy each other’s music, and really are listening to each other, as well. through all the twelve tracks.

That’s an aspect interwoven into the music which makes things all the better for those who listen. The word beoga means lively in irish, and Bradley, Dunne, McKee, Murray and Graham deliver on that. Not lively for the sake of fast played tunes though, but rather because that’s at the heart and energy of the music they offer, Irish music moving forward with a crisp northern edge.

About that fish -- care to offer an answer to the question?

you may also wish to see
Music Road: Grada: Natural Angle
Music Road: malinky: flower & iron
Music Road: music of Donegal: Altan

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posted by Kerry Dexter at


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