Brendan Begley & Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh’s recording ‘A Moment of Madnes’ is now available to purchase on CD Baby.
2. Cronin’s Slippery Jig
3. Seán Keane’s / The Ardgroom Polka
4. An Chéad Mháirt den Fhomhair / Na Gamhna Geala
5. The Humours of Lisheen / The Munster Jig / Seán Coughlin’s
6. Tá Dhá Gabhairín Buí Agam / The Glen Cottage / I’ll Tell Me Ma
7. Máirseáil Uí Shúilleabháin or O’Sullivan’s March
8. Eileen O’Neill / The Chancellor or Father Dollard’s / The Frisco or Walshe’s Hornpipe
9. An Buachaill Caol Dubh / On Book Hill: Quail Dove (or Debut Kill) / I Wish I Had a Kerry Cow
10. Tonn Cliodhna / An Seanchaí Muimhneach
11. The Green Cottage / The Glin Cottage / Julia’s Norwegian Polka
12. The P&O Polka
“One grim grey November morning, a certain schoolteacher in a sad suburb of Dublin opened the newspaper and did something he never does: he read his horrorscope. Follow your heart, it said. A moment of madness is better than a life of logic. “Goodbye”, says Brendan Begley, standing that very day outside the door of his school, “For Ever”. Away he drove, down to Dingle, there and then, never looked back.
Tunes, too (as well as stories), can have a life of their own, and there are a few right quare hawks hiding here on this album: you might find an extra third of a beat or two lurking around the arse end of the first part of Cronin’s Slippery Jig, so called for being nearly a slip jig, but not, and coming as it does from the bow of Paddy Cronin, master of the slippery, the elegant, the beautiful; and as for that strange bird, the Quail Dove, with the three legs too many, well, it certainly has a curious way of walking. But it seems happy, all the same, its heavy breathing aside, and there’s a certain charm to its ‘unique’ way of dancing with the Kerry Cows, the whole lot of them cavorting together on the slopes of Book Hill of a pale moonlit November’s night.
Music is a funny thing, and there are tunes that you just want to play over and over and over, again and again and again, like the P&O Polka (of Christy Leahy’s invention), which seems able to handle any way you’re feeling. The Begley version of O’Sullivan’s March, too, seems perfectly put together: built like a tank, it’ll survive forever.
All this music here stands as a tribute to the great music men of the past, foremost among whom are the merry figures of Johnny Leary and Denis Murphy, those two heroes of humour and the music of Sliabh Luachra. From them come The Chancellor and The Frisco, The Green, Glen and Glin Cottage Polkas, An Seanchaí Muimhneach, The Humours of Lisheen and The Munster Jig.
When playing with the Force of Nature that is Brendan Begley, every note is an adventure, every tune a rollercoaster. It feels a little like sliding down the snow-covered slopes of Mount Brandon, mid-winter, on the threadbare seat of your pants. It’s raw, it’s wild, it’s alive. It’s a lot of fun. Take that night in Airfield House, for example, when friends, family and followers all lifted our spirits: in the middle of Julia’s Norwegian Polka, not content with a mere turbo boost, Begley takes to the chair and belts the boards with his bare-toed sandals, thundering out some manic time. Don’t try this at home, he says. Be warned!”