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Altan is one of the most iconic bands in Irish music. The band delivers on their reputation as among Ireland’s most important cultural ambassadors with their new release DONEGAL. Irish-language songs and dynamic twin-fiddling, both hallmarks of Altan’s sound, framework the new album which tributes Altan’s native County Donegal and its rich musical heritage, breathtaking landscapes and vibrant culture.

Bandleader, lead vocalist and fiddler Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh is in fine form thoughout, lending her angelic voice to “Liostáil mé le Sáirsint” and “The Barley and the Rye” and contributing “Port Árainn Mhór/Port Kitty Rua Mooney”, an outstanding set of jigs, to the project. Altan’s newest member, Clare Friel, shares vocal duties with Ní Mhaonaigh, most notably on the track “Faoiseamh a Gheobhadsa” and adds her fiery twin fiddle playing to great effect. Accordionist Martin Tourish brings his formidable chops and compositional sense to the medley “The House of Baoithín” which pays homage to the mid 6th century Saint Baoithín. Dáithí Sproule (guitar), Mark Kelly (guitar, harmony vocals) and Ciarán Curran (bouzouki, mandolin) round out the band which is augmented by special guests Jim Higgins (percussion), Steve Cooney (bass) and Graham Henderson (keyboards) on select tracks. Taken as a whole, the music transports listeners to a bygone time in rural Ireland while simultaneously forging a connection between the past and modern times. 

Recorded by Manus Lunny at Stiúidió na Mara (“Seafront Studio”) in County Donegal, DONEGAL captures the essence of the region which has inspired Altan since the band’s inception and further cements Altan’s legacy as one of the great cultural treasures of Ireland.

No Irish traditional band in the last thirty years has had a wider impact on audiences throughout the world than Altan. Formed in County Donegal in 1987 by lead vocalist Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh and her late husband Frankie Kennedy, the group’s music is influenced by traditional Irish language songs and tunes from Donegal. Over the course of their career, Altan has sold over a million records.