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Seosamh MacGrianna


Seosamh Mac Grianna ("Joe Mhici Jimi")
Lui na Greine Notes courtesy of Seamus mac an tailleur (James Taylor).

World-class Irish traditional musicians on pennywhistle, flute, fiddle, button accordion, guitar bouzouki, and keyboard. Joe is a phenomenal player, and he is backed on this CD by some stellar performers, including Manus Lunny and Michael McGoldrick.

Lui na Greine means the time of day when the sun is just setting - a peaceful and beautiful time to reflect on the beauties of nature and the world around us. The Gaelic language is rich with terms like this, and it is reflected in their music.

Seosamh Mac Grianna ( known locally as Joe Mhici Jimi ) is from Rann na Feirste, a small rural peninsula in the Rosses, near Gweedore in the Co. Donegal Gaeltacht. The entire region is rich with Irish tradition and culture, and is a stronghold of Irish Gaelic, music, and poetry. Many talented people spring from this area, including such well-known groups and musicians as Enya, Clannad, and Altan.

Joe's music is strongly rooted in the native language and traditions of his people. He has been playing the feadog (pennywhistle) since he was 7. He told me it was a "lucky bag" plastic instrument that his aunt gave him for Christmas! Joe said; "I learned my first tune myself, but on both sides, my parents had music. My father whistled, and knew many tunes. If he heard a tune, he learned it, and that's the way I was then, too. My mum was an O Donnell (of the famous singing family that includes Triona and the late Miheal of Bothy Band fame) and a lovely singer. She sang the old traditional Irish songs. Though she died when I was very young, I can remember her, and she was known in the family and community for her singing."

Joe plays the whistle and accordion, as well as the flute and fife. He is a world-class musician, and several of the tunes are his own compositions. Track 1 - Gearradh na g Cnamh ("cutting the bones") refers to his trade as a butcher, Track 6 - Ruamheirg, refers to the rusty-brown colored water that is common in the area, which he thought was appropriate for the tune, Track 9 - Mallai 'n Ghabha (Blacksmith's Hill) was where an old blacksmith lived, where Joe took his pony to be shoed, and Liam Dubh (Black WIlliam) was a next-door neighbor and a local character and great jokester and storyteller, Track 12 - Caislean an Bhainne (Castle Milk) was where Joe's wife was raised in Glasgow, Scotland.

He is joined on the CD by the multi-talented Manus Lunny of Capercaillie on the bouzouki, guitar, keyboards, and bodhran, Michael McGoldrick (also of Capercaillie) on the flute, Steven Campbell on the fiddle and viola, John Michael O Donnell on the guitar, and Joe's son, Joe Og, on the flute. Seosamh is extremely grateful for their help and support, and said; "But for John Michael and Joe Og's putting the pressure on me, I don't know if I would have made this recording." We can all be grateful to them as well for producing this excellent album of traditional Irish music.




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