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Anam


Country of origin:

Ireland and Scotland

Type of music generally:

Traditional and contemporary folk

Status:

Most recent release, Anam Box (compilation, 2005); most recent studio release, Tine Gheal/Bright Fire (2000)

See also:

Linn Records' Anam page

Anam's MySpace page

Comparisons:

Capercaillie, Loreena McKennitt. (Yves.Denneulin@imag.fr)

Covers/own material:

Both—each album is split between new arrangements of traditional tunes and original compositions.

General comments:

The band is composed of a guy playing bouzouki, a girl playing accordion and whistle, a singer/guitarist and the female lead singer. When I saw them live, they played more than two hours and most of it was really great. I especially liked the singer's voice which sounded like a blend between Karen Matheson (Capercaillie's singer) and Joan Baez.
     Anam's lineup has changed for all albums. The core for the last three albums was Aimée Leonard, Brian ó hEadhra and Treasa Harkin. On the last album Neil Davey joined them. Aimée left the band at the end of the Riptide tour, she will be replaced by a fiddle player and a new vocalist.
     Even though their records are good, they are mainly a live band. They have enough energy to warm a penguin convention. :-) Their originality lies in the fact that their vast range of instruments enable them to cover different areas of folk music, from the intimate ballad carried by Aimée's voice to polka tunes or speedy reels. (Yves.Denneulin@imag.fr)

Comments about live performance:

They put on a very impressive show, playing a mix of traditional Irish, Scottish and Cornish tunes along with some original tunes and songs. I hadn't heard any of Anam's music before, and though I wasn't blown away like I was the first time I saw Solas or Altan I'll probably go and see them again the next time they come by. (mcurry@io.com)

Recommended first album:

Saoirse

Recordings include:


Anam

Release info:

1994—Anam Records—CACD 01

Availability:

Available in the U.K.

Ecto priority:

Recommended for fans of traditional folk

Group members:

Brian ó hEadhra—guitar
Myles Farell—bouzouki
Aimée Leonard—voice

Saoirse

Release info:

1995—Anam Records—CACD 02

Availability:

Available in the U.K., but copies are now limited

Ecto priority:

Recommended for fans of traditional folk

Group members:

Brian ó hEadhra—vocals, acoustic guitar, 12 string guitar, bodhrán, harmonica, keyboard, whistle, mandolin
Aimée Leonard—vocals, bodhrán, oboe
Myles Farrell—bouzouki

Guest artists:

Gerry O'Beirne—acoustic guitar

Produced by:

Brian ó hEadhra and Aimée Leonard

Comments:

The first album with Aimée, recorded shortly after she joined the band. This remains my favourite because it is the one with the most discreet production so it has a sound close to the live one where they are best, I think. (Yves.Denneulin@imag.fr)

First Footing

Release info:

1996—JVC music—JVC-9011-2

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Medium

Group members:

Brian ó hEadhra—vocals, acoustic guitar
Aimée Leonard—vocals, Bodhrán, shaker, djembe, whistle
Treasa Harkin—button accordion

Guest artists:

Myles Farrell—bouzouki

Gerry O'Beirne—acoustic guitar, nylon string guitar, national steel guitar, ukulele
Catriona MacDonald—fiddle
Conrad Ivitsky—double bass

Produced by:

Gerry O'Beirne

Comments:

This is their first album with a major label. The production is "smoother" sometimes lowering spontaneity. The design of the sleeve is also much more elaborate with translations etc.
     The impression I get is that they are discovering new fields with this album and haven't decided yet what tracks they want to follow. (Yves.Denneulin@imag.fr)

Riptide

Release info:

1998—JVC music—JVC9034-2

Availability:

Good

Ecto priority:

High

Group members:

Brian ó hEadhra—vocals, acoustic guitar
Aimée Leonard—vocals, bodhrán
Treasa Harkin—button accordion
Neil Davey—mandolin, bouzouki

Guest artists:

Conrad Itvinsky—double bass, stick bass
James Mackintosh—drums, percussion
Rory Campbell—whistles
John Martin—fiddle, viola
Rory McLeod—harmonica
Phil Bancroft—soprano and alto saxophone
Calum Malcolm—keyboards

Produced by:

Calum Malcolm

Comments:

Their last album to date, this is probably the most ear-catching. It is a good example of the various kinds of music they play, and they are now mature enough to go to the end of their choices. The atmosphere between the songs changes dramatically which is not so common in folk music. If you prefer production over a rough sound go for this one instead of Saoirse. (Yves.Denneulin@imag.fr)

I listened to the first two songs at Borders and liked them. However, the rest of the disc does little for me. I guess part of my problem was I was expecting another Altan. It's good, though, to hear another version of "Westlin' Winds". Then after I bought it I heard that the lead singer quit. Bummer. Her voice is what attracted me to the group. I guess I will stick with Altan. (Matt.Bittner)


Thanks to Yves Denneulin for work on this entry.

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Entry last updated 2011-03-06 16:35:10.
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