10 years after coming to fruition, traditional Irish supergroup Beoga celebrate back home in Ireland. Beoga (Liam Bradley, Niamh Dunne, Sean Óg Graham, Damian McKee and Eamon Murray) are joined by a host of star guests in a gala concert showcasing th...more
Beoga reach beyond genre and definition with How to Tune a Fish, their 4th album, furthering their reputation as one of the most lively and imaginative musical ambassadors from County Antrim in Northern Ireland.
How to Tune a Fish, the 4th album from Beoga, one of Northern Ireland’s most dynamic music exports, is an amalgam of Irish tradition, American folk, funky jazz and classic vaudeville coupled with the enthusiastic writing and performances of Seán Óg Graham, Damian McKee, Niamh Dunne, Eamon Murray, and Liam Bradley. The five-piece group, which takes its name from the gaelic word for “lively”, features traditional Irish instrumentation with the twin dueling accordions of Seán and Damian, the irresistible groove of percussionist/bodhrán player Eamon, the rich harmonic contributions of pianist Liam, and the velvety vocals of singer Niamh. With the boys on harmony vocals, a touch of synthesizer, blues guitar, and the legendary whistles of Brian Finnegan, the album speaks equally to the Irish trad die-hards and the American folk rock enthusiasts.
The Wall Street Journal calls Beoga “the most exciting new traditional band to emerge from Ireland this century.” Self-dubbed “new wave Trad,” the band comments that they are not purists, singing of much more than the rolling green hills of their Ireland. Recorded over the last year in their respective basements, living rooms and bathrooms, the new album carries a matured acoustic camaraderie, highlighting the vibrant arrangements and the soulful strength of Niamh’s vocals. The stripped-down, organic approach to production and the band’s progressive insight into traditional music resulted in more original tunes and delicious arrangements of classics – Irish and otherwise.
Despite pun-laden liner notes, the title track “How to tune a fish,” led by fiddle and button accordion, ignites the album into another two original reels on “Sticky Bun Slides.” “Home Cookin’,” a track written by the late Richard Danko, “tells the joys of one of life’s simple pleasures,” and dances on the side of Americana while “Dolan’s 6am” nods to Niamh’s stomping grounds and her time in Limerick. “Woman of No Place” pays homage to the travelling musician Margaret Barry, “a true legend of the road.” Being on road for much of each year causes the band to intimately relate to, as Eamon says, “tracks like these.” In a drastic swing to 1909 vaudeville, “Come In Out of The Rain,” complete with tuba, clarinet and accordion, is a charming classic. “Our Captain Calls All Hands” shares the somber story of a sailor forced to fight for his country against his lover’s wishes. This ballad of unknown origins was introduced to the band while on tour and explores the heartbreak of leaving home. The last two tracks, “Back in the Lab” and “Minute 5,” exemplify Beoga’s unique approach, juxtaposing funk with the classic whistles of Finnegan and a beat that nods to American hip-hop.
The band will be promoting How to Tune a Fish globally throughout the summer and fall festival seasons with dates in the USA, UK, Ireland, Canada, Germany and Denmark including stops at the Dublin Irish Fest, the All-Ireland Fleadh and the Celtic Irish Dance Festival in Paris, France. Veterans of the major Celtic and folk festivals, Beoga have performed at the Cambridge Folk Festival, the All-Ireland Fleadh, Boston, Kansas and Milwaukee Irish Festivals as well as global tours with Solas, Grada and the Fureys.