Caroline Keane’s talent shines through on new album

Caroline Keane

Caroline Keane was exposed to a wealth of traditional music from a very young age. Growing up in Limerick, she was surrounded by the musical richness of both Clare and Sliabh Luachra – influences which have become the cornerstone of her uniquely vibrant, passionate and emotive style of concertina playing.

Since 2013, she has been a member of the band, FourWinds, whose original line-up included award-wining singer and bouzouki player, Daoirí Farrell, along with piper Tom Delaney and bodhrán virtuoso, Robbie Walsh. The band’s performances have been described as “an exciting landscape of tunes and lyrics that present Irish traditional music in a modern and creative context.”

Having toured extensively throughout Europe, North America and Australasia as both a soloist and as an ensemble player, Caroline has found the time to curate, compile and present Shine, her own debut collection. The album showcases an artist of great technical proficiency and genuine musicality. In both the selection and execution of the tunes, Caroline offers a wonderful demonstration of the range and depth of the concertina in her deft and accomplished hands. The brightness of the sound quality throughout the album ensures that the concertina really pops and sparkles. The dance tunes include reels, jogs, polkas, hornpipes, slides and waltzes as well as a beautiful air composed by Gerry O’Beirne.

“I really wanted new and old compositions to sit comfortably alongside each other on this record,” says Caroline. “I’ve chosen tunes composed by many of the great contemporary composers of traditional music such as Niall Vallely, Vincent Broderick, Liz Carroll, Tony ‘Sully’ Sullivan, John Brady, Tommy Peoples and Josephine Keegan.” The album also includes two of Caroline’s own compositions: While the Cat’s Away and The Wine Strand Polka.

While the album has the concertina front and centre on every track, Caroline is served by an excellent supporting cast including her FourWinds Irish-based bandmates, Robbie Walsh and Tom Delaney, as well as fiddlers Laura Kerr and Jeremy Spencer, cellist Alec Brown, pianist Ryan Molloy, and guitarists Conal O’Kane, Gearóid Ó Duinnín and Gerry O’Beirne. Throughout the album this sparkling array of talent is used judiciously to complement – but never – overpower the concertina especially in the duets with the fiddle and the pipes. 

Although Caroline is among the rising generation of traditional performers, she has already spent a lifetime absorbing the rhythms and nuances of Irish music. She began taking tin whistle lessons at the age of seven, at her local Comhaltas branch, before progressing to the concertina. Under the guidance of her teacher, Noel Hill, she developed to the point that she was performing both nationally and internationally by the age of fifteen.

In 2006 Caroline received the prestigious Lán Mara award, in recognition of outstanding achievement in national music examinations. She secured a first class honours degree in Irish traditional music at the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance at the University of Limerick. She has recently graduated as a Master of Arts in Traditional Irish Music Performance, again with first class honours.

Caroline is a regular performer and tutor at Irish, roots and folk music festivals all over the world, and teaches, lectures and performs regularly around the South West of Ireland.

Caroline has recently released a duet recording of traditional Irish music with uilleann piper, Tom Delany, entitled Never Say Goodbye, Say Good Luck to critical acclaim.

Track Listing:

  1. Charming Lovely Nancy / Sleamhnán Lios Póil / Jazzin’ with Mag Leary Caroline Keane (concertina), Conal O’Kane (guitar)
  2. Paddy From Portlaw / The Old Flail / When the Cat’s Away Caroline Keane (concertina), Conal O’Kane (guitar) Robbie Walsh (bodhrán)
  3. The Roscommon Reel / The Ballymahon Reel / Father Newman’s Caroline Keane (concertina), Laura Kerr (fiddle), Conal O’Kane (guitar), Robbie Walsh (bodhrán)
  4. Carlisle Bay Waltz / The Waltz of Happiness Caroline Keane (concertina), Alec Brown (cello), Gearóid Ó Duinnín (guitar)
  5. The Apple Blossom Reel / The Flood on the Holm Caroline Keane (concertina), Conal O’Kane (guitar)
  6. Gráinne’s Jig / Don’t Touch That Green Linnet Caroline Keane (concertina), Laura Kerr (fiddle),
  7. The Murroe Polka / The Taur Polka / Mick Duggan’s Polka Caroline Keane (concertina), Conal O’Kane (guitar)
  8. The Gatehouse Maid / Arkle Mountain / The Strawberry Blossom Caroline Keane (concertina), Tom Delaney (uilleann pipes)
  9. The Wine Strand Hornpipe / The Mountain Top Caroline Keane (concertina), Ryan Molloy (piano), Conal O’Kane (guitar)
  10. The Leading Role / Matt Peoples / The Curlew Caroline Keane (concertina), Ryan Molloy (piano)
  11. When You’re Gone I Say Your Name Caroline Keane (concertina), Gerry O’Beirne (guitar)
  12. Denis Murphy’s Slide / Nelly Mahony’s/ Thadelo’s Slide Caroline Keane (concertina), Alec Brown (cello), Jeremy Spencer (fiddle), Conal O’Kane (guitar)
  13. The Nightingale / The Rock on the Clyde / The Jig of Port Fleadh Caroline Keane (concertina),
    Alec Brown (cello),
  14. Batt Henry’s / The Shaskeen Caroline Keane (concertina), Ryan Molloy (piano), Robbie Walsh (bodhrán)
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