March 3, 2005

Testspin: Altan

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Unless you’re an aficionado of traditional Irish music, chances are you’ve not heard of Altan before. Declared by many to be the best band of their genre in the world, Altan has been making music since the mid-’80s and was the first Irish band of their kind to be signed by a major label when they joined Virgin Records in 1996.

Local Ground is the group’s 10th album and provides ample justification for Altan’s much-lauded reputation. The powerful atmosphere created by the album’s sound is coherent enough to fully transport you to the classic Irish setting where Altan’s genre was originally conceived.

Through predominantly Gaelic lyrics and a traditional style, Altan manages to channel the soul of Irish music. Their acoustic arrangements range from upbeat dance-worthy tracks (of the jig variety) to haunting ballads further embellished thanks to lead singer, Mair