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This past summer saw a veritable treasure trove of new traditional albums coming to the market, with an emphasis on quality, both in the recordings and the selection of material on display. There are three albums of note released by Cló Iar Chonnachta. The Merry Love to Play, from flute player, Peter Horan and fiddler, Gerry Harrington comes highly recommended. Charlie Lennon has a new double album out on the same label, Turning the Tune. This two disc set contains some thirty selections of tunes from the Galway-based fiddler.

A Tribute to Andy McGann is the most unique of the three CIC albums. Joe Burke, Brian Conway and Felix Doran collaborate on the album, which is a celebration of the music of New York’s Andy McGann, with whom Joe Burke previously released a classic album.
Andy McGann was born and raised in New York, to Sligo parents and became one of the key figures in traditional Irish music in the USA. He grew up in a community that was loyal to the Sligo-American style of music that had been established in the USA a generation earlier by immigrants from Sligo, including Michael Coleman and James Morrison. Andy began playing the fiddle at the age of seven and was tutored by Michael Coleman, a family friend, and he played with him many times until Coleman’s death in 1945. McGann’s playing was beautifully sweet without being saccharine, deeply expressive and elegant, and it is a style than many young musicians have tried to emulate. He would eventually become the standard-bearer of the Sligo American style made famous by Coleman and, indeed, pass the tradition on to other players including his protégé Brian Conway.

Andy McGann, recorded the album A Tribute to Michael Coleman in 1965, together with two good friends and musicians, Joe Burke and Felix Dolan. More than forty years later, on 1st April 2006, in the Irish-American Heritage Center in Chicago, Joe Burke, Felix Dolan and Brian Conway performed together in a concert entitled ‘A Tribute to Andy McGann’, honouring a great musician and friend who had passed away in 2004. It was entirely appropriate that the two musicians who had played with Andy on the landmark Coleman album should have chosen Brian Conway, Andy’s protégé, to play with them on this occasion. Four tracks recorded live at that concert are included on A Tribute to Andy McGann, together with several other tracks chosen to commemorate and celebrate the life of Andy McGann, and to represent the Sligo-American style.

The CD booklet includes extensive notes on Andy McGann and on the three musicians on the album. A Tribute to Andy McGann is available in music shops and from

Permalink - Posted: July 30, 2007 at 3:01 pm