Founded in County Donegal nearly three decades ago and “thought by many to be the finest traditional Irish combo working today,” (Chicago Weekly) ALTAN “have managed to cross the all-important cultural barriers between folk and world and rock music.” (Sunday Tribune, Dublin). Founded in the mid 1980s by the late Belfast flutist Frankie Kennedy and his wife Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh, Altan’s music ranges dynamically from the most sensitive and touching old Irish songs all the way to hard hitting reels and jigs. Impeccably produced recordings mark their entire career, but heartwarming, dynamic live performances are what have won and kept the affections of the band’s legions of fans from Donegal to Tokyo to Seattle. With Mhaonaigh still leading the band on fiddle and vocals, they have maintained an unwavering commitment to bringing the beauty of traditional music, particularly that of the Donegal fiddlers and singers, to contemporary audiences in a way that brings out all its qualities.
The singer MAURA O’CONNELL delivers stirring renditions of Irish classics with a hint of Nashville twang. She began her professional career in 1980 on a six-week tour of the U.S. with the traditional Celtic group De Dannan. She was featured on their signature album The Star Spangled Molly the following year, but quickly developed a deep interest in the experimental roots music of American newgrass. She moved to Tennessee and met Belá Fleck and Jerry Douglas, who would go on to perform on many of her records. Her restless inquisitive creativity has won her success and critical acclaim as both a solo artist and a collaborator with a wide array of Celtic, folk, pop and country artists, including Van Morrison, Brian Kennedy, Moya Brennan, Mary Black, John Prine, Tim O’Brien, John Gorka, Robert Earl Keen, Dolly Parton and Shawn Colvin.
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