Draíocht na Feadóige (CD)
Originally from Cor na Rón in Indreabhán, a small locality that has always been renowned for music, Neansaí Ní Choisdealbha was first encouraged to play music at home by her father, Michael Mheáirt, and her mother, Bairbre Joe Staff Seoighe, originally from Cnoc, Lettermullen.
Having show great promise as a musician from a tender age, she has never been as busy with music as she is at present and since she was appointed Head of Music at RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta in the spring of 2010. Her skills as a music broadcaster have been tried and tested for years and she is renowned for presenting and producing a live two-hour programme on Sunday.
“This is a great record, an example of the best that traditional Irish music has to offer, and the first to come from the steady hands of Neansaí Ní Choisdealbha”
– Meaití Jó Shéamuis
"Easily one of the best CDs of Irish music I have ever heard. Lovely Connemara touches to old tunes, rhythm to die for and 21 tracks . Well done, Neansaí, and of course Michael Hynes on it is no bad thing either. Beautiful presentation and great music. I love it!"
– Oliver O’Connell
Review by Seán Laffey, Irish Music Magazine, April 2017
Neansaí comes from one of the most musical localities in the country: Indreabhán, from a family background steeped in music.
On this excellent album Neansaí is joined by a large crowd of guest musicians: Jack Talty: piano, Michael Hynes: flute, Cliodhna Ní Fhiannachta: fiddle, Aisling Ní Fhiannachta: fiddle, Johnny Óg Connolly: accordion, Darren Breslin: accordion, Tommy Mellett: accordion, Eoin O’Neill: bouzouki, Johnny Connolly: melodeon, Meaití Jo Shéamuis Ó Flatharta: uilleann pipes and Paddy Ó Fiannachta on bodhrán.
This is a flute album. The tunes are taken in hand comfortably, there’s no rush, and yet the tunes never plod or stumble. From the outset on the reels, John Brennan’s, we can hear every note, every articulation; Neansaí’s breath control is faultless. Her accompanists sit behind the tune allowing the flute to carry the day. With Eoin O’Neill on bouzouki and Jack Talty on piano, she has created a core trio that weaves its weft through the album. Neansaí takes a back seat for a few bars as Johnny Óg Connolly trips out the hornpipe Máistir Chor na Rón. The next track is a big number, the famous slow air Táimse Im’ Chodladh, she builds it up slowly with the piano only coming in after a few turns of the melody. She exudes fun on the slip jig Redican’s Mother, the accompaniment here is especially sensitive from O’Neill. The album closes with a set of Paddy O’Brien’s reels, played by an ensemble that includes Meaití Joe Shéamuis on pipes and the boxes of Tommy Mellett: and Johnny Connolly.
The extensive liner notes run to 24 pages and are full of anedotes, painstakingly researched and referenced. There is a nostalgic photograph, pictures of musicians and family who have shared music with Neansaí over the years. Meaití Jó Shéamuis, the RnaG broadcaster, and himself an accomplished traditional musician writes “This is a great record, an example of the best that traditional Irish music has to offer, and the first to come from the steady hands of Neansaí Ní Choisdealbha”.
I for one, would not disagree with him on any count.
- Seán Laffey, Irish Music Magazine, (Eagrán 260) Aibreán 2017
NEANSAÍ NÍ CHOISDEALBHA: Draíocht na Feadóige, review by Alex Monaghan, The Living Tradition magazine, 2014
Well-known in Ireland and beyond as a broadcaster, Neansaí Ní Choisdealbha shows herself here to be an equally fine fluter. In a generous 21 tracks, she covers a wide range of Irish music from session tunes to slow airs, on flutes and whistles, joined by some excellent accompanists and other musicians. The title of this CD might translate as “Woodwind Wizardry” and that would be no great exaggeration, although Neansaí has no pretensions to be a Finnegan or McGoldrick. She breathes life into these tunes though and it’s the warmth and spirit which really comes across in her music, with enough technical skill to make her playing seem the most natural thing in the world.
Most of these tunes are ones I often play myself, being a whistler, so I have to take a step back from the familiar and try ot be objective. The material here comes from the heart of the tradition, well loved but sometimes neglected melodies. John Brennan’s and George White’s Favourite are great old reels, not heard so much in sessions these days. Tommy Mulhaire’s Jig is another rarity, but Condon’s Frolics is currently in favour. A set of polkas rolls beautifully off the finers – no slides though. There are some exemplary hornpipes here too: The Navigator is a polically correct title and The Swan is rather less well know. Oiche Nollag is a tune which is usually only heard for about one week a year, which is a shame. Redican’s Mother, The Skylark, The Green Mountain and The Lark on the Strand are all welcome as old friends. Lorna Hunter’s Reel puts a name to a tune for me, and Neansaí’s Reel is a composition of Michael Hynes who joins Neansaí here to play it. Fiddles, button boxes, jaw harp and the pipes of Neansaí’s mentor, the iconic Meaití Jó Shéamuis, provide duets and an occasional kitchen session sound, but most tracks are flute or whistle solos with deft accompaniment.
Slow airs and waltzes are plentiful, some of them true solos. Táimse im Chodhladh, An Buachaillín Bán and Ballyvaughan Bay come from the Irish repertoire, while The Duchess Tree, Westering Home and Scottish Lament have crossed the North Channel at some stage. After more than an hour of fine music, Neansaí launches into the pair of challenging reels, Colonel Rogers and Happy Days Of Youth, before a final house céilí on four reels from Patrick’s Night to Ormond Sound. Warm, spirited and inclusive: Draíocht na Feadóige is a charming album which will bring a smile to the face of any Irish music fan.