John O'Regan, has done an exceptional job.
The Ultimate Guide to Irish Folk is not like any of the collections you'll come across in airport shops or even online - this is totally new and takes in both traditional and contemporary Irish music - folk, songwriter, pub and even rock - from around the world. There are contributors here, well known and not so famous, from North and south of the border, as well as from England, Canada and America.
It is a very current picture of what Irish music looks like these days. And there are copious sleeve notes compiled by John who has an encyclopaedic knowledge of the Irish music business.
Among the well known acts are Clannad, Dervish, the Dubliners, Christy Moore and Sinead O'Connor and Horslips ( the first band I ever saw live and the first ones to mix traditional tunes with rock music).
There's also songwriters - John Spillane, Paul Brady and Luka Bloom for example. All very quirky and very Irish.
And a couple of Afro-Irish fusion bands - this is a very new development in Irish music and is very popular at summer rock festivals - Irish is an Indo European language and in places sounds almost Arabic - both the bands Kila and Afro Celt Sound System make use of that, using the sounds of North Africa fused with traditional Irish tunes and singing in Irish ... Quite brilliant.
The CD is produced by Arc Music and is available to buy at that link.
On any given day I would pick different tracks to highlight but for today here are a couple of samples:
Martin Hayes (fiddle) and Dennis Cahill (guitar) - Paddy Fahey's Reel
Clannad - Rhapsody na nGrann
There are a couple of strange tracks on this - from very talented acts - I'm just not sure what the Irish connection is - For example this American family - the Willis Clan - where all 12 siblings play, sing and dance ... amazing. All 12 of them have a name beginning with J - they're climbing up the ranks of America's Got Talent at the minute - you'll either love them or hate them. Personally I think they're all very talented and who wouldn't love the little one dancing.
What are your favourite compilations? Have you been listening to any new CDs lately?