There’s method in the seeming madness of Beoga, the most exciting new traditional band to emerge from Ireland this century. "We want our music to sound carefree but not careless," founding member Eamon Murray, a four-time All-Ireland champion on bodhran (hand-held drum), explained by phone from Phoenix during the group’s current tour of the U.S. "A lot of serious work goes into the fun we have."
Serious fun surfaces in several tracks of "The Incident," Beoga’s riveting new album on Compass Records and its third recording overall. The heady medley of "The Jewish Polka/The Gooseberry Bush/The Flying Golf Club" displays the band’s mirthful exuberance as well as its virtuosity and range. Tempos shift from tune to tune and sometimes within each tune, and guest musicians playing such outside-the-tradition instruments as clarinet and cello only heighten the impact of Beoga’s inside-the-tradition instrumentation, which includes Damian McKee’s button accordion, Niamh Dunne’s fiddle, Sean Og Graham’s guitar and button accordion, and Liam Bradley’s piano.
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