THE BAND; Beal Tuinne (pronounced 'Beel-thinneh) is the name of a group of West Kerry-based musicians featuring Seamus Begley and Eilis Kennedy, who joined together with singer Rita Connolly and composer Shaun Davey in 2006 to perform a collection of new songs.
THE MUSIC; Beal Tuinne formed in order to perform a collection of new songs in Irish, music by Shaun Davey, with lyrics based on the poems of the late Caoimhin O Cinneide. In the sleevenotes Shaun explains; - 'The songs on this album are from a small village, west of Dingle in Co. Kerry, which lies between the wild grandeur of Mount Brandon and the booming Atlantic over the brow of the hill. It is a place where music and community go together, music serving as a collective bond, and where the distinction is blurred between the amateur musician and the professional.......I was keen to work amidst a music of this kind, to share the experience with our neighbour, the legendary box-player and sweet singer of soaring traditional melodies, Seamus Begley, to hear the equally wonderful singing of my wife, Rita, and to realise an ambition to play a pedal harmonium in their company.'
Melodic and traditional in style, the songs feature the sweet singing of Seamus, Rita and Eilis (daughter of Caoimhin O Cinneide) aided by the gritty voice of man-of-sea, Lawrence Courtney, with choral harmonies by the full band. The band feature acoustic instruments, played in West Kerry traditional style, unusually combined with the pedal harmonium (a portable, bellows-powered organ). The music includes trademark instrumental forays on button accordion by Seamus and his son Eoin who also features on concertina.
THE LYRICS; the songs tell of life in Baile an Mhuraigh ['Parish of Moor'), a small gaeltacht village in the Ballydavid area, west of Dingle, where Caoimhin O Cinneide spent most of his life. Typically the poems convey a man on the outside of the parish, looking in. At times conferring heroic status on neighbours, while fishing or rescuing a survivor from shipwreck; at others there is leg-pulling typical of a close-knit community. Occasionally the poet ventures further afield, nowhere more poignantly than when at sea, rounding Carraig Aonair, (the Fastnet Rock), or lamenting the fate of the exile, far from home in the building sites of Chicago. Sometimes he is solitary, as during a nighttime vigil out in the bay, reflecting on those who drowned. Always Caoimhin seems to have placed his poetry at the service of his neighbours, ready to console and reassure in times of bereavement, or to chronicle the birthdays of his own beloved family.
THE CD; the opportunity to take the music to a wider audience was provided by film-maker, Phillip King, who decided to base a film documentary around the occasion of Beal Tuinne's debut concert in St James' Church, Dingle, in October 2006. This was shown on RTE during the summer, 2007, as part of South Wind Blows 'An Droichead Beo' series in partnership with RTE and the CBI. The production of this CD has been encouraged by the widely favorable response to the film, which can be seen again on RTE over Christmas.
"The poetry of Caoimhín Ó Cinnéide, the late west Kerry poet and teacher, has been reignited by these musical diverse settings, composed and arranged by Shaun Davey, and performed last summer in St. James' Church in Dingle. Davey's deeply sympathetic compositions scatter stardust across Ó Cinnéide's extraordinary tales of ordinary lives. The harmonies of Éilis Ní Chinnéide and Rita Connolly on 'Lá Eigin Fadó Fadó' are a revelation: celebrating the simplicity of a day spent in good company. Séamus Begley's reading of 'Ar Muir San Óiche' teetering on the brink of an uncertainty born of unfamiliarity with the song, is a delicate filament of a thing, with Eoin Ó Beaglaoi's tiptoeing concertina and Jim Muarry's restrained guitar shoring up the rear magnificently. A magnificent meithil, a snapshot of a glorious summer's evening of music."
Rated 4 stars: Siobhan Long - The Irish Times Feb 2008
(2) Bealtaine na Maighdine
(3) Nell Sé, Bean Jack
(4) Fearaibh na bhFeoibh
(6) Dán Lae Breithe
(7) Bás Mrs. Price
(8) Lá Éigin Fadó Fadó
(10) Dúlamán (Idir Seo is Sin)
(11) Briotánach Óg ó L'Orient
(12) Cois Laoí
(13) Ciúmhais Charraig Aonair
(14) Ar Muir San Oíche
(15) Scáil na Lasrach