In the last dozen years, no traditional Irish band has had a wider impact on audiences and music lovers throughout the world than Altan. They have moved audiences from Donegal to Tokyo to Seattle with their heartwarming, dynamic live performances and with their exquisitely produced, award-winning recordings that range from the most touching old Irish songs to hard-hitting reels and jigs. Throughout their career, Altan has shown unwavering commitment to bringing the beauty of traditional music to contemporary audiences, particularly that of the Donegal fiddlers and singers. On their upcoming new album, The Widening Gyre (2015 Compass Record), Altan explores
In the last dozen years, no traditional Irish band has had a wider impact on audiences and music lovers throughout the world than Altan. They have moved audiences from Donegal to Tokyo to Seattle with their heartwarming, dynamic live performances and with their exquisitely produced, award-winning recordings that range from the most touching old Irish songs to hard-hitting reels and jigs. Throughout their career, Altan has shown unwavering commitment to bringing the beauty of traditional music to contemporary audiences, particularly that of the Donegal fiddlers and singers. On their upcoming new album, The Widening Gyre (2015 Compass Record), Altan explores and celebrates the musical connection between the traditional music of Ireland and the roots and bluegrass music from their across the pond cousin.
The chance to experience this thirty year-active band is to experience the living legacy of Irish music. The seeds of Altan lie in the music and spontaneity of sessions in kitchens and pubs in their hometown of Donegal, where their music was heard in an atmosphere of respect and intimacy. It is here that the band’s heart still lies, whether they are performing on TV in Australia or jamming with Ricky Skaggs on the west coast of the United States. Founded by Gweedore singer and fiddler, Mairead Ni Mhaonaigh and her now deceased partner Frankie Kennedy, Altan’s commitment to good natured fun was second only to their commitment to excellence in all things musical. Thus, the band members gathered were inevitably top-notch. Altan has always been a band of virtuosos. The earliest addition was a bouzouki-player, Ciaran Curran, then US based Derry guitarist Daithi Sproule whom they met during their first tours of the US. Followed by Donegal fiddler, Ciaran Tourish, a player with a special love for the weaving of spontaneous harmony and counterpoint round the melodies of the other lead players. Ciaran’s nephew , Martin Tourish is the newest band member on accordian.
Altan’s international status and success found a very practical recognition when they were signed in 1996 to Virgin Records, the first Irish band of their kind to be signed by a major label. The band gained gold and platinum albums in Ireland and toured larger venues, literally thoughout the world, with tours in Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Europe as well as regular successful U.S. tours.In spite of a hectic touring and recording schedule, Altan continue fresh in their vision of bringing the beauty and joy of traditional music to audiences everywhere, and have always promised themselves to continue as long as it’s fun — fortunately, it still is!
"Paddy's Trip to Scotland" > "The Shetland Fiddler" (Frankie Kennedy Winter School Launch, 2011)
"Dúlamán" (from Cambridge Folk Festival, UK, 2003)
"Buffalo Gals" (from Centennial Theatre, North Vancouver, BC, 2015)
"Dónal & Mórag" (from Fleadh Festival, Cavan, IRE, 2012)
"Back to the Source" (Short documentary directed Jeremy Howard, 2012)
(Altan performs with the RTE Concert Orchestra, 2009)
Live Stream (from the Frankie Kennedy Winter School, 2014)
Altan traditional audio mix...
Altan w/ Symphony Orchestra mix...
Acoustic quintet featuring Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh (lead vocals, fiddle), Ciarán Tourish (fiddle, tin whistle, backing vocals), Martin Tourish (button accordion, melodeon), Dáithí Sproule (guitar/vocals) and Ciarán Curran (bouzouki, bouzouki guitar).
> An Evening w/
> Festival Headliner
> Symphony Guest (see Promo Assets for more info)
> Special guest artists
> Outreach activities available
> Workshops/master classes
> Performances for young audiences
Please contact your SRO Artist Representative if you are interested in exploring outreach options with Altan.
Gleann Nimhe – The Poison Glen (©2012 Compass Records Group)
> #03 The Ardara Girls / The Backdoor Highlands / Fáscadh mo Léine (The Wringing of my Shirt) / Reel in A / Ciaran Tourish’s Reel | ZIP
> #05 Caitlín Triall | ZIP
> #11 Cailín Deas Crúite na mBó | ZIP
Altan: 25th Anniversary Celebration CD w/ the RTE Concert Orchestra (©2009 Compass Records Group)
> #01 Is The Big Man Within? / Tilly Finn’s Reel (trad.) | ZIP
> #13 Gleanntáin Ghlas Ghaoth Dobhai (trad.) | ZIP
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LabelCompass Records Group
PublicityCompass Records Media Relations
Gradam Ceoil TG4 2017 Musician of the Year
The multi-talented singer, fiddle-player and broadcaster Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh heads the list of recipients of the 2017 Gradam Ceoil TG4 as Musician of the Year. Founder of the Irish traditional music group Altan, she was featured in several performances during Awards Concert at the Cork Opera House (Ireland), Sunday 19th February, 2017. Watch Awards Ceremony Concert | Read Review
Ricky Skaggs (Grand Ole Opry Intro, 11-Mar-2016)
“I LOVE this next group [Altan] and Irish folk music… it’s really the foundation stone of bluegrass music. Bluegrass was built upon what these people laid. I really love the sound of (Altan’s) music and how they keep it traditional, but yet this group is really great about innovating as well. These folks are heavyweights all over the country but especially in Ireland where they’re respected so much. Listen to episode (time cue at 1 hout 50 minutes) | Read Review
PopMatters Weighs in on The Widening Gyre
"It’s a credit to their perseverance that despite their hardy trajectory, they’re still keen to bend the boundaries and venture into new and as yet unconquered terrain... Altan has made the kind of album that defines them as distinctive." Read Review
The Boston Globe
“More than any Irish group, this Donegal quintet is seen as keeper of the traditional flame.” Read Review