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22/10/2021

Legendary Donegal traditional Irish group reissue album

Work showcases Altan at the height of their powers

Legendary Donegal traditional Irish group reissue album

Donegal based traditional Irish group Altan

Legendary Donegal traditional Irish group Altan’s ninth studio album, Local Ground was reissued yesterday, March 12.

The album, which was originally released in the US in 2005 by Narada Records, has been unavailable for several years.

The 14-track reissue includes a bonus track “Andy Dixon’s/ Ríl Chois Claidigh/The Swilly Reel,” previously only available on the Japanese release (also long out of print).

Compass Records, Altan’s label partner since the 2012 release of The Poison Glen and home to most of the band’s catalog, is delighted to be making this classic album available again.

Local Ground showcases the legendary Donegal-based group at the height of their powers.

The Washington Post called them “the best Celtic folk band in the world” and AllMusic wrote, “The heavenly voice of lead singer/fiddler Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh has never sounded better, especially on standout ballads like “As I Roved Out” and “The Wind and Rain,” and the group — always a single organism — rips through piece after piece like the bandmembers’s lives depended on it.”

Other highlights include the fiery “Tommy Peoples/The Road to Cashel/The Repeal of the Union/Richie’s Reel,” the rousing traditional tale of young love, “Éirigh ‘s Cuir Ort Do Chuid Éadaigh’” and the gorgeous closer, the traditional “‘Dún Do Shúil (Close Your Eyes).”

Steve Cooney guests on bass, Dónal Lunny adds guitar and Galician piper Carlos Núñez contributes Galician bagpipes to two tracks.

“There is not a single misstep on the whole recording,” wrote Living Tradition.

“Each piece is wonderfully done and the finished whole is likely to find itself fast becoming a classic. Talent like this ensures that the Donegal musical tradition continues unbroken. Local Ground is a fresh, invigorating album that is not to be missed.”

About Altan

Altan are an Irish folk music band formed in 1987 by lead vocalist Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh and her husband, the late Frankie Kennedy.

The group is primarily influenced by traditional Irish language songs from Donegal and has sold over a million records.

They were the first traditional Irish group to be signed to a major label when they signed with Virgin Records in 1994, and have collaborated with Dolly Parton, Enya, The Chieftains, Bonnie Raitt, Alison Krauss, and many others.

As global ambassadors for Irish traditional music, Altan has always celebrated and valued the “local” in their music, realizing that music can be said to be of and from a place.

This celebration of place is important to Altan; they’re always aware of their geographical and musical roots in Donegal, way up in the northwest of Ireland. Donegal is a place of great beauty, and the rugged landscape is reflected both in the character of the people and in the music, culture and language of its people.

After over three decades, Altan retain the energy and enthusiasm that originally shaped and propelled their music, with friendships that have been forged and proven in innumerable kitchen and pub sessions from their beginnings in Ireland to concert halls and stages throughout the world.

Their dynamic live shows continue to convey a pride and respect for a tradition leading to global recognition as ambassadors for the musical heritage they love.


Praise for Altan

“...the best Celtic folk band in the world.”

—The Washington Post

“The appeal of Altan centres on the fact that they see no differences or divisions in music. As such, they have managed to cross the all-important cultural barriers between folk and world and rock music.”

—The Sunday Tribune (Dublin)

“Thought by many to be the finest traditional Irish combo working today, Altan seamlessly blend dazzling instrumental prowess and the gorgeously delicate vocals of Mairead Ni Mhaonaigh.”

—Chicago Weekly

"A truly inspirational offering that will please you time and time again."

- Donegal Democrat

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