Ó CONAILL FAMILY AND FRIENDS – Let’s Have Another Gan Ainm (Digital release)

Let's Have Another Gan Ainm

I’m not sure I should be writing this review: while I’ve played guitar in many ceilidh bands over the years, I don’t claim any in-depth knowledge of the tradition from which Let’s Have Another Gan Ainm – due for digital-only release on July 1st 2018 – springs. Yet it’s such a delightful album, I can’t resist telling you the little I know about it.

First, that title. Gan Ainm simply means “no name”, and if you’ve skipped ahead to the track list below you’ll have noticed that every track includes at least one tune called Gan Ainm. This reflects the fact that Dónal Ó Conaill of Roscommon, who passed away in 2003, was a notable collector of local tunes without names, and passed them on to his family. Since his passing, the family has grown and spread to other parts of Ireland and the UK.

However, in the summer of 2017 three generations of the Ó Conaill family returned to the family home in Roscommon, along with some family friends to pay tribute to his life and legacy by recording “the best of these tunes, along with some of Dónal’s personal favourites.” And a fine collection of beautifully-played tunes it is. While it includes some well-known titles such as ‘Lord Mayo’, ‘The Blackbird’ and ‘Toss The Feathers (II)’ (the last so called to distinguish it from another reel similarly named), the unnamed jigs, reels and airs here thoroughly deserve their inclusion.

Here’s that track listing:

1 – ‘Gan Ainm’, ‘Gan Ainm’, ‘Gan Ainm’

2 – ‘The Drunken Landlady’, ‘Gan Ainm’, ‘Gan Ainm’

3 – ‘Gan Ainm’, ‘Gan Ainm’, ‘Gan Ainm’

4 – ‘Battle Of Aughrim’, ‘Gan Ainm’, ‘Lord Mayo’

5 – ‘Gan Ainm’, ‘Gan Ainm’, ‘Tom Billy’s’

6 – ‘Girls Of Banbridge’, ‘Gallowglass’, ‘Gan Ainm’

7 – ‘The Blackbird’, ‘Gan Ainm’, ‘Mrs Galvin’s’

8 – ‘Gan Ainm’

9 – ‘Gan Ainm’, ‘Bunch of Green Rushes’, ‘Gan Ainm’

10 – ‘Gan Ainm’, ‘Gan Ainm’, ‘Anthony Frowley’s’

11 – ‘Gan Ainm’, ‘Toss the Feathers II’, ‘Gan Ainm’

Caitlín and Ùna Ó Conaill and her families and friends have done lovers of Irish traditional music an immense favour by allowing us this snapshot of a family reuniting to make delightful music, and I feel privileged to have been able to experience it. It’s good to know that while such a gathering at the family home may be a rare event, Dónal Ó Conaill’s legacy will continue to be enjoyed in the world beyond Roscommon.

David Harley

Artist’s website: www.folkandhoney.co.uk/

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