Altan Castleisland Bound

Altan Castleisland Bound

The Patrick O’Keeffe Traditional Music festival is excited to bring you the news that Altan have been signed up for this years festival. Altan will headline the Saturday night concert and tickets can be purchased here. As seating capacity is limited it is advised to pre book as we expect this event to be sold out well before the doors are thrown open.


Biggest Band in Traditional Music
Altan have been long established as the best and foremost traditional Irish band to come out of Ireland.This was recognized in 2016, when the Irish Government through An Post, honoured Altan by issuing a postal stamp featuring the band. This award showed Altan’s immense impact on recent Irish culture at home and abroad and the growing popularity of Irish traditional music generally. Currently the band are on their annual US tour, a 2 month long extravaganza of sold out gigs.

First Trad Band Signed to Major Record Label
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 throughout the world, with tours in Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Europe as well as regular successful U.S. tours.

Top of World Billboard Music Charts
With their exquisitely produced award-winning recordings,their ground breaking ‘Island Angel’ recording going to no.2 in the Billboard World Music Chart, ranging dynamically from the most sensitive and touching ancient ballads all the way to the energetic foot-tapping reels and jigs, and their heart warming engaging live performances.

Collaborations with Dolly Parton
In 1994 Dolly Parton recorded a live album entitled Heartsongs: Live From Home using the finest bluegrass and acoustic musicians from the United States and combined them with one of the greatest traditional Irish groups, Altan. The Queen of Country said: “It was a match made in heaven as the fiddles, guitars and dobro interacted with the Irish ‘squeezebox’, uileann pipes, whistles and bouzouki. “We often found that a song by the Irish musicians under one title would be familiar to the bluegrass musicians under another title. “One of the songs we recorded was the ancient ballad Barbara Allen. While I sang the lyrics in English, Mairéad (Ní Mhaonaigh) sang the Gaelic translation. The combination was unbelievable.” Altan’s album The Widening Gyre was recorded in Nashville in 2015 and features a ‘who’s who’ of bluegrass including Jerry Douglas who won a Grammy Award with the Earls of Leicester earlier this week

Presidents and Dignitaries
The band have travelled with President Mary MacAleese and President Michael D. Higgins on state visits abroad to Japan, North Korea and Italy. President Higgins invited them to join him in his residence, Áras an Uachtaráin in 2018 to celebrate their 30 years as a band. The Donegal County Council held a civic reception in their offices to mark the occasion in May 2018.

Mairead Ní Mhaonigh
Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh was awarded Donegal Person of the Year in 2008 and the coveted TG4 Gradaim Ceoil (Music Award) 2017, for her musicianship and singing. The highest accolade which a traditional musician can receive in Ireland. In celebration of the band’s latest album, The Gap of Dreams, the band has brought their music all
over Europe and Ireland, the US and Canada, Japan, Australia and even North Africa.

Latest Album
The latest album celebrates the roots of their music in Donegal folklore.
It was recorded in the Attica Studios in the mountains of Donegal which contributed to a wonderful atmosphere which permeated throughout the recording.The title refers to that ‘gap’ or ‘door’ between this and the ‘other world.’ The older fiddlers , whom they got their music from, always associated with the “other world” as the source for their music and inspiration. They would describe poetically about encountering the fairy folk or listening to tunes on the wind or on the shore listening to the sound of the waves. In creativity the ‘Gap of Dreams” is never shut.


Some Quotes about the band
The group described by the Boston Globe as “The Hottest band in the Celtic Realm”

‘Altan’s music has always been true to the roots from which it has
grown, always injecting something new as they approach a set of tunes,
or something beautiful when Mairead’s voice floats over slow air or a
love song. This new album combines all of the freshness that is
characteristic of this great band, together with a rare depth and
purity that can only come from the souls of superb musicians.’
– Bill Whelan composer of Riverdance

Scholarly,sophisticated, equally spontaneous in session or in studio,
Altan, once more, enliven their great tradition, confound our
expectations and draw us all home to Donegal” – Stephen Rea
Irish actor

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