Review Archive

‘A Language Within’ from the O' Carolan Family - a rich slice of an eternal genre

(March 17, 2014)

Rarely does Irish traditional music fail to touch your soul. ‘A Language Within’ from the O' Carolan The OCarolan family albumFamily follows suit and delivers a rich slice of that eternal genre. The family in question are Steven, Karen and Ciaran, along with an array of fine musicians joining them, and ‘A Language Within’ must become a future classic, no doubt. This O’Carolan family album is built around a wealth of self-penned compositions primarily from Steven O'Carolan, plus superbly arranged traditionals, along with contributions from friends and family. 

The flawless depth of this music flows through each offering. Simple, unadorned and natural. Music from the soul. From the opening trio of ‘Master Seamus, Bunker Hill, Manmore Gap’ through a iridescent set of barn dances ‘Around the fairy fort, The new broom’ from flute player Vincent Broderick, to possibly the most moving versions of ‘The West’s Awake’ featuring the haunting evocative voice of Ciara McCafferty, this debut lays down a marker of quality.

Other gems include the moving Eastern-European edged ‘Immigrants Waltz’Abandon Ship’, written especially for The Titanic Project, the gentle tenderness of ‘The 14th of May, Rhiannons Lullaby’ and the sheer wonder of the lingering air ‘Knocknamany Bens’.

‘A Language Within’ from the O' Carolan Family is an album lovers of the Irish tradition should definitely make their own, for it is yet another important stone in the fortress that is this enthralling music. The album is available from

Reviewer: Dan Holland

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