"a globetrotting musical adventure" The Irish Times
Listen to the tunes...
Featuring music composed by Adèle Commins and Daithí Kearney, A Louth Lilt is inspired by people and places in Louth and further afield. From the snows of Norway to the sunsets of Brazil, the legends of the Táin to the dreams we share, the music draws on Irish musical traditions with an ear to the wider world. Encompassing influences from our rich and varied musical experiences, these pieces reflect a lifetime of engaging with various musical cultures and personalities. We are grateful to the many people who have shaped our musical ideas.
1. Porto Alegre’s Dream 2 / The Bus Ticket / The Priest’s Polka
The first set begins with a tune composed for our friends in Bando Celta in Brazil where we were fortunate to travel to in 2014. It is followed by two tunes composed for a stage production entitled To Stay or Leave (2005). The first was notated on the back of a bus ticket on a journey between Cork and Tralee and finishes with a tune dedicated to Pat Ahern, a significant influence on Daithí.
2. Life is for Learning / Life is for Living
‘Life is for Learning’ was composed for the retirement in 2013 of Dr John Dallat, our colleague at Dundalk Institute of Technology, and recognises our role as educators. Life is also for living and we must remember to make the most of life, learning as we go.
3. Blue Boats / Lough Ennell
In Brian Friel’s play Philadelphia Here I Come, the character Gar remembers a happy day with his father in a blue boat. These tunes were composed on a particularly happy day in 2014 as we sat and relaxed on a quiet pier by a lake. The boat may have been blue.
4. From Kerry with Love / From Louth with Love
This waltz and march were composed as gifts for our parents as a special memory of our wedding in 2015.
5. Trip to Tivoli / Porchetta Reel
The ‘Italian Reels’ were composed during a memorable trip to Italy in 2007 when Daithí stayed with Vincenzo Appolini. They were inspired by a visit to the Tivoli Gardens and a wonderful lunch provided by Marco Fabri at the school of music.
6. Bluebells of Love / Rí an Rátha
Patrick Kavanagh’s poem ‘Bluebells for Love’ was published in June 1945, inspired by a walk he took with his love Hilda Moriarty in the wooded demesne of Lord Dunsany’s estate in Co. Meath. We have encountered the poem in various contexts, including at Dublin Airport and on a card and the tune itself was composed after a performance at the Patrick Kavanagh Centre in Inniskeen, Co. Monaghan in 2014. Rí an Rátha refers to a fort at the back of Adèle’s childhood home near Tallanstown, Co. Louth and was composed in 2002.
7. Durham Bells / A Brazilian Adventure / Coming Home Soon
The first of these polkas was inspired by the wonderful cathedral in Durham which both Adèle and Daithí have visited on various occasions during music conferences, including in 2010 when this was composed. ‘A Brazilian Adventure’ was composed during a trip to Brazil with a group of students from Dundalk Institute of Technology in 2014. The final tune from 2016 reminds us that while travelling is all well and good, it is nice to come home too!
8. Away Too Long / Teachers Can’t Count / Ryan’s Hospitality
‘Away Too Long’ was written in 2016 during Daithí’s first extended stay away from Adèle after their wedding. It is followed by two jigs he previously recorded with the band Nuada in 2004. The first was named by bandmate Jeremy Spencer during a frustrating rehearsal and the second is dedicated to Matt and Bid Ryan in New Ross with whom Daithí stayed with while in the south east.
9. Road to Dundalk / Ferdia’s Battle
Adèle has always enjoyed marches fondly recounting playing marches during her céilí band days as a teenager under the influence of Rory Kennedy. The first was written in 1997 as a girl living on the road to Dundalk, not far from Ardee where Ferdia’s heroic battle with Cúchullainn took place in the Táin legend.
10. A Telemark Tune
‘A Telemark Tune’ was written in the dormitory of the Rauland campus during a memorable Erasmus teaching visit in 2015 and inspired by the white landscapes of the Norwegian winter and evenings surrounded by Hardanger fiddlers. It is dedicated to Anon Egeland and Frode Nyvold who warmly welcomed Daithí.
11. Shoreside Strolls / Rocky Road to Kansas
Blackrock is a beautiful village near Dundalk where shoreside strolls offer beautiful views. The first was composed for Daithí’s birthday in 2014. The march was written on a somewhat rocky flight from New York to Kansas where we performed at the retirement of our good friend Ray James of Baker University in 2014.
12. Sleepy Joe / Ballyholland Maiden
Adèle composed these jigs for her parents Joe and Josephine. [Although Joe is far from sleepy!]
13. Late Night Rambles to the Moon
These tunes were composed while lying awake one night thinking of the wonderful adventures life brings.
14. Porto Alegre’s Dream 1 / Holding Firm / Kansas Set 2
Finishing as we started, the first is a polka inspired by our trip to Porto Alegre in 2014, a place famous for sunsets. The second tune was composed on the occasion of Adèle’s Godson Michael taking his first steps in 2015. The final tune was written during our Kansas adventure in 2014, one of many wonderful trips around the world that inspired some of the music on this album.
Produced by Adèle Commins, Daithí Kearney and Kial Wallace
Mixed and Mastered by Kial Wallace at Dundalk Institute of Technology
All tracks composed, arranged and performed by Adèle Commins and Daithí Kearney.
The album A Louth Lilt was recorded at Dundalk Institute of Technology under the Summer Undergraduate Research Programme. DkIT colleague Seán Keegan, whose work includes recent releases by The Friel Sisters and The Yanks, was a co-supervisor on the project.
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Engineer and co-producer Kial Wallace
Originally from the UK Kial Wallace moved to Ireland at the age of ten. Although always maintaining a keen interest in music he didn’t start playing it until the age of fourteen, when he picked up the guitar. Since then Wallace has successfully completed a BA (Hons) Production of Music and Audio at DkIT. While at DkIT Wallace co-founded Apple-Tree TV an online, live music platform, which looked to capture performances of local musicians. He also founded Amusia Records https://amusiarecords.bandcamp.com/music. The label looks to promote electronic and hip hop artists and is based in Dundalk. Wallace has also worked as a stage-hand for Na Piobairi Uilleann.
Album Artwork JJ Quinlan
JJ Quinlan is a lecturer and researcher in Creative Media at Dundalk Institute of Technology (DkIT). His areas of specialisation can be broadly grouped into Game Visuals, Graphic Design, Animation and Authoring for Multimedia Devices. As a researcher, he is concerned primarily with Game Visuals in their application and design. He previously designed the artwork for the album Midleton Rare.
The cover image features photographs taken by Daithí of a statue in Ardee, Co. Louth, of Cúchulainn holding the stricken Ferdia near the site of their legendary battle merged with a photograph of the banjo and piano accordion.
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‘a globetrotting musical adventure’ Siobhán Long, The Irish Times
‘this may be new music but it shares a blood line with much that has gone before’ Seán Laffey, Irish Music Magazine
‘a cracking collection of modern tunes sounding like they have some provenance’ Grem Devlin, The Living Tradition