Gregory G. H. Rihn (milwaukeesfs) wrote,
Gregory G. H. Rihn

Altan, 03-04-04

Thursday night the 4th, we had tickets to the concert by Altan at the Milwaukee Irish Heritage Center. Altan is an Irish music group that's been around more than twenty years. They are from the Northeast of Ireland originally, and play a good bit of music that has Scottish influences as well as purely Irish. The band consists of two fiddles, gittern, button accordion, and guitar. Altan has played Milwaukee before, and is evidently popular as the event was a sellout.

Altan is rather unusual for Irish bands in that their chief spokesperson is a woman, Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh, but she holds up the usual tasks of doing folksy introductions and jokes, supported by guitarist Mark Kelly. Like any Irish band, they can play fast and hard, but actually played rather more relaxed and laid-back sets than other bands we've seen at MIHC such as the Tannahill Weavers and Suzanne Seviane. That did not hinder the audience's enjoyment in the least. The hall literally rocked on the fast numbers, and gave rapt appreciation to slow songs. We joined in a standing ovation.

One observation: For some reason, despite my roots and my appreciation for Irish culture, I cannot find Gaelic a beautiful language to listen to, even when sung and the singer has a good voice. I don't know why, but the tongue seems to me to be full of awkward consonants and combinations. Even languages like German that are often referred to as harsh-sounding strike me as more sonorous.
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