Craobh Rua

Saturday, March 3, 2001

With a name like   CRAOBH RUA   ("Kreeve Roo-ah")
they've got to be good! — (and they WERE!)

A rousing evening was had by all in our full house. Craobh Rua had the crowd jumping, foot stomping, hand clapping and singing along to their lively program.

Craobh Rua     Craobh Rua is a traditional band based in Belfast. This exciting foursome is now regarded around the world as one of the finest exponents of traditional Irish music. Though their arrangements are their own, they resemble the first wave of the Irish folk revival of the sixties and seventies. Extensive concert and festival performances have delighted audiences, earning them worldwide acclaim and recognition. Craobh Rua takes a refreshing, clean, unpretentious but uncommonly skilled run at some of the greatest music in the world.

The band consists of four impeccable musicians who mix traditional instruments (uilleann pipes et al) with banjo, mandolin, guitar, bouzouki and great vocals.

The performers are:
  • Brian Connolly, who plays an elegant banjo. He founded the original Craobh Rua and remains the driving force behind the band today.

  • Michael Cassidy, (fiddle) was a founding member of the Belfast band Afton, and has played with Craobh Rua since 1986.

  • Aaron Jones, (bouzouki, guitar, vocals) played and recorded with the Scottish band Seelyhoo, and has performed with Phil Cunningham and Aly Bain.

  • Patrick Davey (flute, whistle, uilleann pipes) lives in Belfast, former All-Ireland uilleann pipes champion and has performed and recorded as a guest soloist with numerous traditional Irish groups.

Craobh Rua's latest album: If Ida Been Here, Ida Been There:

If Ida Been Here, Ida Been There

  showcases material gathered and finely-honed over a hectic two year touring schedule. If Ida Been Here ... is an exciting mix of nine traditional and original tune-sets comprising of reels, jigs and hornpipes, along with two songs from Ireland and two from Scotland. The album kicks of with the fiery Skip Jig Set and later highlights include a haunting and sensitive version of the Gaelic song Cul Tiubh na bPearlai and an excellent arrangement of The Belfast Mountains, a lively song from the band's home town.

Never afraid to flip the coin - on the original side - there's some stirring foot-on-the pedal stuff on The Motorbike Set, whilst Hornby-holics and trainspotters will get steamed up by the expressive Narrow Gauge Set. These contrast perfectly with the band's delicate working of the legendary Turlough O'Carolan's Turlough og McDonough.

Underlining their reputation as one of the premier Celtic bands around, Craobh Rua continue to expand their repertoire with the inclusion of two traditional Scottish songs A Man's a Man, written by Robert Burns and the beautiful Loch Tay Boat Song. Above all, there's a wonderfully fresh and different feel here from previous releases by the band.

This album nicely complements their previous releases: Not A Word About It, The More That's Said The Less The Better, No Matter How Cold & Wet You Are As Long You're Warm & Dry, and SOh It Is.

Click on picture to Link to:
Craobh Rua   A one hour A/V RealPlayer clip of their performance at The Kennedy Center Millenium Stage on September 28, 1999