Old Bridge Music

Sibling Revelry

Sibling Revelry



* * * * THE IRISH TIMES    

* * * * SONGLINES    


Máire Ní Chathasaigh and her fiddle-playing and singing sisters Nollaig and Mairéad (The Casey Sisters) released their first CD together, Sibling Revelry, in late 2015.

Co-produced, recorded and mixed by Chris Newman, it was one of The Daily Telegraph’s Albums of the Year and “Caithreim Ciúil”s Album of the Week (Nov 16 – 20) on BBC Radio nan Gaidheal (Scotland).


“Blissfully beautiful… channelling mythology, nostalgia and geography to bewitching effect in heartfelt music”



“Wonderfully atmospheric”


Scroll down for Tracklist and Reviews.


SKU: OBMCD22 Categories: ,



* * * * THE IRISH TIMES   

* * * * SONGLINES   


Máire Ní Chathasaigh and her fiddle-playing and singing sisters Nollaig and Mairéad (The Casey Sisters) released their first CD together, Sibling Revelry, in late 2015.

Co-produced, recorded and mixed by Chris Newman, it was one of The Daily Telegraph’s Albums of the Year and “Caithreim Ciúil”s Album of the Week (Nov 16 – 20) on BBC Radio nan Gaidheal (Scotland).

Click to read Máire’s and Nollaig’s biographies.

Nollaig Casey
violins, violas, vocals; Máire Ní Chathasaigh Irish harp; Mairéad Ní Chathasaigh vocals, fiddle; Arty McGlynn guitar; Chris Newman bass.


1. The Humours of Castlebernard / From Shore to Shore 2. Katherine O’More 3. A Dhroimeann Donn Dílis 4. Slip Silver / The Surround 5. Connamara 6. Fan mar a bhfuil tú, a chladhaire (“Stay where you are, you rogue”) / The House Keeper / Petticoat Loose 7. Lament for General Monroe 8. The Men from Mallow / McCarthy’s Hornpipe 9. The Bonnie Boy in Blue 10. Miss Fahey’s Fancy / I have no Money / Jerry Hayes 11. Dark Lochnagar 12. Harps in Bloom 13. The Mealagh Valley Polkas 14. The Bandonbridge Suite: a) Dreams of Castlemahon – composed by Máire b) The Bandon River Flows – composed by Nollaig c) The Earl of Cork’s Allemand d) The March from Irishtown e) The Bandonbridge Hornpipe f) The Gates are Open

Review Extracts

“This has to be my favourite album title of the year. Sibling Revelry, the début album from the distinguished Casey-Ní Chathasaigh sisters, is an album of first-class musicianship.

Singer and fiddle-player Nollaig Casey (once of Planxty and Coolfin) plays beautifully on the haunting Lament for General Monroe. Máire Ní Chathasaigh shows throughout why she is hailed as one of the world’s best harp players. Mairéad Ní Chathasaigh has a sweet voice as well as a fine talent on the fiddle. They are joined on three tracks by Arty McGlynn on acoustic guitar. This is a wonderfully atmospheric album, never more so than on Connamara, a previously unpublished composition by Edward Bunting (1773–1843), which was made available by Belfast’s Queen’s University library.”

* * * * THE DAILY TELEGRAPH 8 October, 2015 – Martin Chilton.

The album was on his list of best folk albums of 2015!


“Intimacy and intuition are at the heart of this radiant collection.

Máire Ní Chathasaigh, Nollaig Casey and Mairéad Ní Chathasaigh are already highly regarded, but together, the sum of their parts reveals a generosity of spirit, a shared delight in the tunes and an appetite for forensic musical excavations.

Máire’s harp is at its subtle best on O’Carolan’s Katherine O’More, its sotto voce conversation with the fiddle giving full voice to the tune’s delicacies.

The Bandonbridge Suite, composed by the sisters, is a playful, meditative and sweeping reflection on a part of the country seldom referenced in the traditional music canon.

Máire’s vocals bring a rich dimension and the unveiling of Connamara, a previously unpublished tune from the Bunting collection, is a further treat.”

* * * * THE IRISH TIMES 16 October, 2015 – Siobhán Long


“One of Irish folk’s first families get together for a catch-up. Multi – instrumental sisters three, Máire and Mairéad Ní Chathasaigh and Nollaig Casey all have long, illustrious solo careers behind them. Here they have come together on disc for the first time.

Daughters of a West Cork household steeped in traditional music, they bring a pleasingly vintage quality to bear on quietly beguiling treatments of existing material and a self-composed extended suite.

Mairéad’s vocals on the allegorical ‘A Dhroimeann Donn Dílis’ and little-known ‘Dark Lochnagar’ (an evocative setting of Lord Byron‘s poem) are crystalline and siren-like. Máire’s harp is crisp and clean on Turlough O’Carolan’s wedding tune ‘Katherine O’More’. Her harp is blissfully beautiful, too, on the album’s standout track, ‘Connamara’, a previously unpublished instrumental air discovered in the Edward Bunting  archives in Queens University, Belfast. Planxty and Coolfin stalwart Nollaig’s  fiddle and tin whistle sings throughout the original six-part ‘Bandonbridge Suite’, channelling mythology, nostalgia and geography to bewitching effect in heartfelt music. These are musicians with deep traditional roots; they have given us performances of immense charm and subtle virtuosity.“

* * * * SONGLINES December 2015 – Michael Quinn


“At the end of this meeting of arguably Irish music’s foremost family group there’s a suite giving a musical representation of their home town, Bandon in West Cork’s history. It could just as well be a depiction of the Casey Sisters themselves, having grown up as the only traditional music players in town, returning to show the mastery that’s given them global reputations.

Thumbing of noses doesn’t sit with the warmth and intimacy that permeates Sibling Revelry, though. This is high-end music-making, virtuosic yet presented in a way that puts the music first, the arrangements geared towards clear melodicism and rich, flowing, soulful exprzession. Máire (harp, piano, keyboard), Nollaig (fiddle, viola, whistle) and Mairéad (fiddle, whistle, flute) complement each other brilliantly on beautiful airs and superbly measured tune sets and the latter pair’s singing – Nollaig’s slightly wary-sounding on The Bonnie Boy in Blue; Mairéad’s sweet and lovely on A Dhroimeann Donn Dílis – emphasises the sheer depth of feeling they have for the Irish tradition.”

THE HERALD SCOTLAND Saturday 31 October 2015 – Rob Adams


“There are times when it seems like certain families got more than their fair share of musical genes, when a whole load of them can display talent of the highest order. So it is for the three sisters Nollaig Casey (vocals, fiddle, viola, tin whistle), Máire Ní Chathasaigh (Irish harp, piano, keyboards) and Mairéad Ní Chathasaigh (vocals, fiddle, tin whistle, low flute). All three are known for their outstanding work in their respective interpretations of Irish music and song, but this is their first recording as a band of sisters, accompanied by Arty McGlynn on guitar and Chris Newman on bass.

Máire has rightly been described as “the doyenne of Irish harp players”, taking the instrument in new directions and acting as a generational influence. Nollaig has sung and played fiddle solo and with more musicians than you could list on the back of a ream of envelopes. Mairéad is a singer whose depth of knowledge and understanding of the Irish traditions is peerless. And they all are award-winning multi-instrumentalists as well. Not bad going for one family!

They have been so busy with their individual careers that you maybe can understand why they’ve not got together before, but after listening to this release, the only question is: “what took you so long?” The album brings together traditional songs and tunes, with a six-part Bandonbridge Suite, co-authored by the three siblings to finish off the CD. This comes at the end of a stunning mixture of songs which are as clearly sung as any I’ve heard, and the playing throughout is a masterclass in allowing restraint in playing to demonstrate the complexities of the tunes.

The punning title is well-chosen, as there is no rivalry here, rather musical co-operation in which none dominates and all contribute evenly. A superb album.”

THE LIVING TRADITION, October / November, 2015 – Gordon Potter


“The titular siblings are all accomplished performers in their own right: Máire Ní Chathasaigh is one of Ireland’s finest harpists, and a pretty darn good keyboard player as well; Nollaig Casey has played fiddle with everyone from Planxty to Van Morrison to Nancy Griffith to Elvis Costello, as well as her husband, guitarist Arty McGlynn; and Mairéad Ní Chathasaigh has won numerous titles for her fiddle, harp-playing and singing. Only their family can testify as to whether the Casey sisters worked and played as well together when they were kids as they do here.

There is plenty of elegance on Sibling Revelry, such as the lesser-known Carolan piece, ‘Katherine O’More’, led by Máire; a gorgeous sean-nós song, ‘A Dhroimeann Donn Dílis’, sung by Mairéad; and Nollaig’s own vocal turn on ‘The Bonnie Boy in Blue’. But the sisters also tap the more visceral quality of the music: a sprightly set of hornpipes (‘Humours of Castlebernard / From Shore to Shore’), a couple of pulsating slip-jigs (‘Slip Silver / The Surround’), an agile trio of reels (‘Miss Fahey’s Fancy / I Have No Money / Jerry Hayes’), cheery polkas from Cork’s Mealagh Valley and Nollaig’s chilling take on ‘Lament for General Monroe’. (It should be noted that McGlynn, and Máire’s husband Chris Newman – who produced the album – also make appearances on Sibling Revelry.)

The final six tracks are a special treat: a suite of tunes composed by the sisters to commemorate the history of their hometown of Bandon in West Cork. “The Bandonbridge Suite’ certainly reflects traditional roots but calls up other influences as well, and provides a sort off aural representation of history and geography – the stately current of ‘The Bandon River Flows’, for example, the classically-tinged ‘Earl of Cork’s Allemand’ (you can practically visualise powdered wigs, mantuas and knee breeches) or the festive ‘Open Gates’. It may be a homage to Bandon, but the suite also pays tribute to the Casey Sisters for their knowledge of, and reverence for,  Irish music – and for the inspiration they derive from it.”

THE BOSTON IRISH REPORTER (USA) January 2016 – Seán Smith


“E’ uscito il 15 ottobre 2015 ed è già tra i “Best Folk Albums” del 2015 per il britannico Daily Telegraph: “Sibling Revelry, il debutto discografico del brillante trio delle sorelle Casey (Ní Chathasaigh in Gaelico), ben rappresenta un sodalizio musicale di prima classe. La cantante e violinista Nollaig Casey (già coi Planxty e i Coolfin) suona meravigliosamente nell’incantevole Lament for General Monroe. Máire Ní Chathasaigh dimostra ancora una volta perché sia ritenuta una delle migliori suonatrici di arpa nel mondo. Mairéad Ní Chathasaigh ha una voce dolce, unita a un raffinato talento nel suonare il violino. In tre tracce del disco le sorelle sono accompagnate da Arty McGlynn alla chitarra acustica. Siamo di fronte a un’opera di splendida atmosfera, ancor più in Connamara, inedita composizione di Edward Bunting (1773–1843), ritrovata nella libreria della Belfast’s Queen’s University.”

Originarie di Bandon, nella contea di Cork, le tre sorelle danno vita a un disco bellissimo, una delle perle del folk in Europa per questo 2015.

Nollaig alla voce, al violino, alla viola e al thin whistle, Maire all’arpa, al pianoforte e alle tastiere e Mairead alla voce, al violino, al thin whistle e al low whistle sono accompagnate in alcuni brani, rimanendo sempre in famiglia, da due altre “star” del folk come Arty McGlynn alla chitarra e Chris Newman che si cimenta al basso.

Nelle varie tracce dell’album si alternano brani provenienti da fonti scritte (dalle collezioni di Francis O’Neil a quelle di Ryan), per poi passare all’immancabile O’Carolan e passare poi ad esplorare il repertorio di trascrittori di musica per cornamusa come Canon James Goodman.

Non mancano i brani provenienti dal repertorio di organetto e concertina, come “The Mealagh Valley Polkas” e Lament for “General Monroe”.

Bella la composizione di Maire, “Harps in Bloom”, composta nel 2010 per il venticinquestimo anniversario del “Cairde na Cruite’s Cúirt Chruitireachta” (Festival Internazionale dell’arpa irlandese) ed eccellenti i due canti di derivazione familiare, imparati da Mareid e Nollaig dalla madre Una, rispettivamente “The Bonnie Boy in Blue” e “A Dhroimeann Donn Dílis” (un’allegorica canzone politica probabilmente del diciottesimo secolo, nella quale l’Irlanda viene raffigurata come una fedele mucca bruna).

“Dark Lochnagar”, è una canone su parole di Lord Byron, la cui musica fu raccolta da Cecil Sharp da un irlandese residente a Londra; attualmente la melodia è maggiormente conosciuta come brano strumentale nell’attuale repertorio in terra d’Irlanda, mentre il canto è ancora in uso in Scozia, ma eseguito su una melodia differente.

Una lunga suite intitolata “The Bandonbridge Suite” chiude il disco: si tratta di una rappresentazione in musica della storia della città di Bandon che raccoglie composizioni delle tre sorelle ed è stata eseguita per la prima volta nel 2014 alla settimana dell’arpa del Bandon Walled Town Festival

La piccola perla del disco è infine rappresentata da “Connamara” (non ho sbagliato nel copiare, l’autore usava questo spelling!): grazie alla Biblioteca della Queen’s University di Belfast è stato possibile usare uno spartito manoscritto inedito di Edward Bunting. Ed è anche un brano molto bello.

Così come questo disco è assolutamente imperdibile!”

THE FOLK BULLETIN (Italy), December 2015 – Andrea Del Favero


“‘Sibling Revelry’ might best be described as effortless – it doesn’t shout about its greatness with faster-than-light playing or painstakingly crafted sound, and that’s part of the attraction. Instead, the arrangements are stripped back and organic and the quality rests on the pure skill and elegance of the playing.

The album opens with a stomping hornpipe named after a ruined castle in the sisters’ home town of Bandon, then moves on to a Turlough O’Carolan tune (Katherine O’more). Reflective, lilting pieces such as this seems to be where the sisters are most at home; later they play Connamara, a previously unpublished tune by Edward Bunting. The instrumentation here is superb, the strings particularly providing a rich, full accompaniment without sounding too orchestral.

Among the most striking pieces is Lament for General Monroe. Solo fiddle done well is always a treat, but it’s rare to hear playing that seems to bypass the instrument and come straight from the musician’s soul. It’s flawless and totally captivating.

Dance tunes aplenty space out the slower tunes, lifted by sparkling accompaniment from the harp and occasionally joined by guitar. The Bandonbridge Hornpipe, composed and played by Mairéad, stands out particularly with its driving melody and has a more danceable, down-to-earth sound than many of the others on the album.

Bonnie Boy in Blue, one of the three songs on the album, is also a standout track, demanding attention with strong, immediate vocals and a lilting tune. The other songs are a little more quiet and cautious, although this works well with their ethereal sound.

The sisters’ compositions are of as high a standard as their selection of traditional material – perhaps best shown in the final six tracks, The Bandonbridge Suite. Composed as a musical representation of the town of Bandon, the suite begins contemplatively, picks up pace with The Earl of Cork’s Allemand – a complex and technically intriguing tune – and finishes with a reel with all three of the sisters and their guest guitarist Arty McGlynn joining in.

A collaboration of this standard doesn’t come along every day. It sounds good on paper; it sounds even better in practice, perhaps because aside from the sisters’ deserved renown, they are ultimately drawing from their closeness to the tradition and to each other.”

BRIGHT YOUNG FOLK (England), November 2015 – Sol Loreto-Miller

Link to the online review


“Now who had the brainwave to bring together these three musical sisters for an album of truly joyous music-making? … You’ll know the ladies individually, of course, as front-runners in their respective fields of musical endeavour: Nollaig Casey as fiddler and singer (she also plays viola and tin-whistle), Máire Ní Chathasaigh as harpist extraordinaire (also piano and keyboard player), and Máiread Ní Chathasaigh as singer and fiddler (who also plays tin-whistle and low flute). Unbelievably, the deliciously-titled Sibling Revelry is the sisters’ first recording together (mind you, they’ve all had busy and fruitful individual careers), and yet the teaming here reveals a further inspired level of musicianship that’s beyond the intuitive. They excel on their respective instruments, sure, but they also possess an innate grasp of internal dynamics (whereby felicities of balance are keenly observed) and an uncanny ability to listen to each other and respond in kind, rejoicing in spontaneity of expression.

The material chosen for this album is thoughtfully and impeccably arranged, and ideally sequenced for optimum listening pleasure. It comprises mainly instrumental items, with just three songs carefully interleaved; of these, two are sung by Mairéad and one by Nollaig, and both singers display both a constant purity of tone and an unassumingly accomplished clarity of diction. The instrumental repertoire is an enterprising selection of traditional tunes, largely from manuscript collections, with one by O’Carolan and one by Máire herself, while the ten-minute closing track, the six-part Bandonbridge Suite, has individual sections composed by individual sisters. Good use is made of the possibilities of both arrangement and studio facilities for imaginative presentation; sometimes, Nollaig doubles her fiddle parts or else creates a mini-string-section by adding the darker timbre of viola to the mix, while the colours of tin-whistle and low flute add further variety to five of the selections and Máire’s harpistry is as skilled and scintillating as ever. Arty McGlynn’s guitar accompanies deftly on three tracks, including the final movement of the Suite, and Chris Newman plays bass on one of the songs. Even so, one of the album’s standout tracks is Nollaig’s pindrop solo performance on her adaptation of Lament For General Monroe.

The entire album represents a glorious and wholly delectable celebration of expertise in sibling musicianship of the highest order, and proves a life-affirming experience, a joy from start to finish.”

FATEA (England), October 2015 – David Kidman


“Sul fronte world, il BF Consigliato della settimana è “Sibling Revelry” delle irlandesi The Casey Sisters, squisita sintesi di raffinatezza e alta class musicale”

– “Blogfoolk’s CD of the week is ‘Sibling Revelry’ from the Casey Sisters, an exquisite synthesis of refinement and high class music.”

BLOGFOOLK (Italy), January 2016


“The intriguingly titled ‘Sibling Revelry’, the debut album from the class act that is The Casey Sisters, exudes the highest levels of talented musicianship and without doubt manifest skill. The word ‘expressive’ could easily sum up this album as the sisters pour so much of themselves into the music it talks to the listener on so many levels. The lightest of airs rub shoulders with ‘soul-touching’ songs and ‘step-inducing’ dance tunes to conjure an experience that will simply sweep you away into its enveloping embrace.

From the first moments, with the entrancing energy of ‘The Humours Of Castlebernard/ From Shore To Shore’ through the soft gentleness of ‘Katherine O’More’ to the haunting ‘A Dhroimeann Donn Dílis’ this album will hold you rapt. Were it possible to pick favourites from this album because the whole is so good and everyone will find their own preferences, then for me the dramatic ‘Lament For General Monroe’, their wholly impressive take on ‘Dark Lochnagar’ and impressive expanse of the specially composed, six-part ‘The Bandonbridge Suite’ are the ones that I lean towards the most.”

FOLKWORDS (England), October 31, 2015– Charlie Elland


“Rich and lovely”

FOLKING (England)