Cha bhi fios aire math an tobair gus an tràigh e
Ed | The Nation's Capitol | 03/16/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
""The value of the well is not known until it goes dry"
This is the English translation of the Gaelic proverb written in the title above, and it applies to the title of this DVD by the Chieftains.
This became their last great work together before the retirement of fiddle player Martin Fay, and the untimely death of the delightfully eccentric virtuoso harp/pianist Derek Bell.
Each of the members are featured here in their homes and pubs, providing a picturesque context to the musical aural landscape that their compositions provide.
Paddy Moloney, bandleader/tin whistlist/uilleann pipist and general raconteur, explains in his relaxed brogue about the cottage parties in the central Irish mountains of his upbringing, and the wonderful native Irish music that filled those misty fields. The people of the countryside where he spent the summers of his youth were lively musicians and hellraisers, and Mr Moloney paints a vivid picture of endless jigs into long summer nights.
Kevin Conneff, bodranier and vocalist, takes us into his rural home by the fireside, and reminisces about the breadth of Irish traditional music and what it means to carry it forward as this band has done for the past forty years. He sings an acapella version of the "May Morning Dew" in a rustic church, and his vocal prowess is far greater than I'd previously given him credit.
Sean Keane and Martin Fay are prominently featured, being the central string players in the group. Mr Keane is a giant of man, yet very unassuming and soft-spoken. Their proficiency on the violins is breathtaking, and really gives texture to the "Chieftain" sound.
Flautist Matt Malloy is shown in his pub, where a great informal jam takes place in the back room with vast amounts of Guiness in hand and half the village packed in to witness the joy of these musicians in high spirits.
The late Derek Bell offers his mischevious take on the band's history and place in Irish tradition. He tells of his Belfast upbringing, where the marchers of the Orange Order with their bass drums pounding was very exciting for a young musician like himself with poor sight.
His brilliance on the harp is astounding. He holds court with a classroom of apple-faced young ladies who play a 17th century harp piece, and the sound of two dozen Irish harps playing in harmony is like you would expect heaven to sound.
Mr Bell poignantly tells of the next great music score he is writing, but says he has time to complete the opus in retirement. He is almost seventy at this viewing, and his father "scored ninety" in his lifetime even though "he liked a drop of whiskey". Alas, Derek Bell passed away shortly after the release of this set.
A very rare delight is found at the end of the DVD, which finds the great Van Morrison sitting around the bar with Paddy Moloney and Derek Bell, kicking around their wonderful 1988 release they made together and the need to do it again sometime.
The price of the DVD is worth this scene alone, as the two Ulsterman, Bell and Morrison, get on with Dubliner Moloney. Then they get up and play together, and the only known video performance of "The Star of the County Down" takes place. Stunningly good. If that doesn't bring it all home, nothing will.
This is the Chieftains last and best complilation when they were still all together. They were a remarkable ensemble, and the music they made together, particularly as presented on this DVD with its vivid imagery of Ireland and her people, is a unique treasure."
Lorraine P. Zigman | Vermont, USA | 07/08/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"What can I say? When it's "The Chieftains", it is top of the line. They are one of my all-time favorites. This DVD has additional features at the end which makes it very special. If you enjoy this group with their stupendous playing ability of traditional instruments - and their delightful, playful presence this a DVD you should have."
Ed W. | New York, NY | 04/27/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I truly enjoyed this DVD. I am sure anyone interested in The Chieftains would be delighted with this DVD. And since Netflix doesn't have it, as of 4/27/08, looks like you'll have to buy it like I did."