The second album from young Irish quintet Goitse deserves its title: the cute hairy caterpillar has become a beautiful butterfly. Scintillating, graceful, soaring music from fiddle, banjo, accordion, bodhrán and guitar, with three charming vocal tracks from Áine McGeeney including a duet with guest David Curley, Transformed is an impressive album by anyone’s standards, and a great second outing for this exciting new band. McGeeney’s fiddle is at the heart of most things here, and ranges convincingly from stateside shownmanship to down-to-earth Donegal reels. With four of her own compositions in this selection, a pair of thoughtful slip-jigs and a couple of striking tunes on the title track, Áine certainly plays a central role in the instrumentals – but she’s not alone. James Harvey’s banjo is a force to be reckoned with from start to finish, whether duetting or vamping. It also combines perfectly with Tadhg Ó Meachair’s piano box, for instance on the driving Road to Malvern and Jimmy Keane’s Charleston.
Conal O’Kane’s guitars are a crucial part of the rhythmic power and creativity of Goitse. They come to the fore on the front-porch classic Chicken & Dumplings, and on the delightful Swedish air A och O. The other vital ingredient of the Goitse beat is the bodhrán of Colm Phelan, a man with a solo CD under his belt and a history of disaster below the belt. This is commemorated by the Burst Togs Set, marrying Tadhg’s rumbustuous polka Ardaigh with the stunning reel Lost Time by currently popular composer and fiddler Jeremy Kittel. Conal’s Philadelphia provenance is similarly celebrated with the Cheesesteak Reels which end this CD. It’s worth noting that while nothing on Transformed is jarringly modern, none of the tunes here are traditional and every composer is acknowledged – with the exception of two songs.Erin on the Rhine and One Day for Recreation are both firmly trad arr, both delivered in Áine’s light clear soprano, and both excellent: the closest comparison I can think of is Fiona Kelleher’s contribution to North Cregg’s third album Summer at my Feet. The other vocal number here, Finbar Magee’s My Belfast Love, has a more contemporary feel with piano and guitar backing – but no glockenspiel – and David Curley’s rich gentle tones complement Áine’s voice superbly. In Goitse’s no-messing style, the high-cholesterol final set of reels kicks straight in and leaves a lingering taste in the mouth long after the last morsel of music has died away. Definitely a 2012 Top Ten album!
-Alex Monaghan FolkWorld
This collection of original and traditional music is seamless flawless and powerful, full of humor and energy that the members of Goitse are famous for. - Jack Baker, Irish American News
[They play] “… with the wisdom of musicians with many more road miles beneath their belt.” Siobhan Long, Irish Times
10 Tracks,44 Minutes,8 Seconds
Own Label GSE CD 02
Produced and mixed by Donal Lunny, “Transformed sees Goitse
transfer from the periphery to the big league” so wrote John O’Reagan
in a recent interview with the band in Irish Music Magazine.
All the evidence from this album is that they have indeed shifted
into another gear, not only does the album emphasise this
metamorphosis by sporting a butterfly on the cover but the website
image shows a band assured and ready to take on the world. Dressed
like young go getter executives, their college clothes cast of for
something more polished, more refined, more chilled.
All of those qualities are evident in the music in this album,
indeed from track 1 Dowd’s No 10, they lay down the principles,
laconic banjo, pulsing box, little duets, a punctuated bass line on
the guitar, they are nimble with Alasdair Fraser’s Valley of the
Moon and counter on the second selection with the robust and
hearty Jim Childress’ The Road to Malvern.There’s an Americana
Old-timey feeling to a lot of this album, it’ not so much the style
s the dynamics, they add more space than you’ find in the run of
the mill traditional album. Transformed, the tune composed by
Áine McGeeeney and Colm Phelan. It is a slow burner, a fiddle
piece built on very strong deliberate rhythmic foundations.
Their sound has become softer, less jagged, there is more lyricism
in their playing, a confidence with the back beat and more swing
in the reels and jigs. Like a butterfly they’ve taken flight and their
diary is filling up rapidly, flitting from gig to gig. Yet a sense of
fragility permeates their work, chiefly in the voice of Áine Mc
Geeney, which still has a youthful sweetness, a degree of tender
hesitation on Erin on the Rhine and an attractive innocence on a
duet with David Curley. There are tunes a plenty, from the band
themselves and other composers. Charlie Lennon’s The Ladies
Choice, a Swedish air played on the guitar Aoc O and a rousing
set of reels to close, and before I forget atribute to a wardrobe
This is Goiste all grown up, and ready for the road, just imagine
what another year will do to them.
Seán Laffey ( Editor Irish Music Magazine)
“Goitse’s music possesses a strength power and maturity that is well beyond their years”
- John O Regan (Journalist, Irish Music Magazine)
“They play with an easy assurance that should cause those fretting about the future of Irish trad to rest more easily at night.”
- Hotpress Magazine
“Simply terrific…They are in my view an exceptional young band and if they stay together have a very bright future”
- Irish Post
“a band producing startling and mature performances while only setting off on their musical journey.”
- Niall Keegan, MA Irish Traditional Music Performance, Course Director.
“they are bound for success”
- Irland Journal (Germany)
“they have a big musical imagination and aren’t afraid to tear at the edges of the trad envelope.”
- Irish Music Magazine (Sean Laffey)
” Those fortunate enough to be around them at such a special time will sense that…Goitse is out to getcha. Grab hold of it while you can!”
- Michael O Suilleabhain Head Of World Academy of Irish Traditional Music and Dance, UL.
Irish Post full CD Review – Click here to view
Irish Music Magazine Review – Click here to view
Letters of support
“To Whom It May Concern:
Goitse are band that were conceived and developed here at the University of Limerick over the past four years. The band has developed in that time into one of the more individual and exception voices in folk and traditional music.
Individually the members of the ensemble are leaders in their field. Aine McGeeney is one of the leading young traditional fiddlers in a northern style whose vocals are a marriage of contemporary and traditional technique. Colm Phelan is one of Ireland’s leading young percussionists, and an exceptional bodhran player, providing new dimensions to the voice instrument. Conal O’Kane brings new complexity to guitar accompaniement through his adoption of contemporary themes and styling. James Harvey is simply the best young tenor banjo player about at the moment and Tadhg O Meachair is one of the busiest and individual musicians in Europe today.
Goitse produce a new sound, and are leading exponents in their field individually. They have managed to help reinvigorate a tradition looking for new directions in ensemble and contribute to this practice in a unique and startling way.
I recommend Goitse whole-heartedly.”
- Niall Keegan,
BA Irish Music and Dance
“Goitse impressed me with their tangential take on the tradition, yes they can play it straight but they have the musical imagination and the dexterity in their fingertips to move, groove and syncopate with the best of them.
Alumni of the University of Limerick’s prestigious Irish World Music Academy they are glowing examples of the potential-energy we all know is locked inside traditional music.
The difference with Goitse? Bravery. They have the spark to make it (trad) explode.”
- Sean Laffey, Editor Irish Music Magazine
“Holy smokes!!! – I thought the whole bunch of us were going to jump out of our seats when Goitse played our Showcase at the World Music Centre at the University of Limerick. Surely, we’ll see you in the U.S. and in Milwaukee this summer. P.S. Good luck on your exams.”
- Ed Ward, Executive Director and Founder of Milwaukee Irish Festival