New Releases: Traditional and Folk Music (September 2018)

Slow Moving Clouds (photo: Anna Lether)

New Releases: Traditional and Folk Music (September 2018)

A round-up of new and recent traditional and folk music releases.

Featured below: Childsplay, Claire Keville, Helen Diamond, Dónal McCague and Tommy Fitzharris, and Slow Moving Clouds.

Listen to the JM – The Journal of Music New Traditional/Folk Music Releases playlist on Spotify:

Each week The Journal of Music compiles news on new and recent releases in contemporary, classical, jazz, indie, traditional music and more. Please send details of all releases to newreleases [at]

Childsplay: The Bloom of Youth
31 August 2018

This is the seventh album from the group of fiddle-players known as Childsplay, most of whom are based in the US. Among them are the singer and multi-instrumentalist Sam Amidon and each fiddle is made by the same maker – Bob Childs. It’s an album full of brio, with a diverse range of tunes, although the approach in the arrangements can be formulaic. The singing of Karen Casey (who will release her own new solo album next month) balances the energy of the tunes, including a version of Joni Mitchell’s anti-war song ‘The Fiddle and the Drum’. ’The Bloom of Youth’ set typifies the energy of the album.



Claire Keville: Irish Music on the Harpsichord
1 July 2018 

This is Claire Keville’s second album of music on keyboard – her first, featuring the clavichord, was released in 2015. Irish Music on the Harpsichord includes music by John Dowland, Carolan, music from the Francis Roche Collection and more, with Liam Lewis on fiddle for two tracks. There’s a thoughtfulness and pace to the arrangements that is characteristic of the musician, also well known as a concertina player. Some rare gems appear among the repertoire include the ‘The Dublin Street Singers’ Chant’ from the 1855 George Petrie collection. Four new compositions from Keville make it an intriguing collection.

Helen Diamond: Helen Diamond
8 July 2018

This is traditional singer Helen Diamond’s debut album. It’s a 10-track recording of completely solo singing in English, with a repertoire that comes mainly from the North of Ireland. The apparent simplicity of the approach belies the skill of this artist’s singing. There is a power here, and an ability to draw the listener into the story of each song, that is notable from the first track, ‘Eastersnow’, and continues to ‘Brennan on the Moor’ at the end. Diamond will launch her recording in Dublin soon.


Dónal McCague and Tommy Fitzharris
August 2018 

This is fiddle-player Dónal McCague and flute-player Tommy Fitzharris’ first duet album together. It’s subtle, relaxed playing, both specialising in adding tasty variations throughout the tunes. There’s skilful, idiosyncratic solos too, on ‘It May Well Be’ and ‘The Tram’ (McCague) and ‘The Knocknagree Reel’ and ‘The Flower of the Flock’ (Fitzharris). Not always easy to understand why piano accompaniment is added when the two are so well matched, but there’s good listening here plus some nice newly composed tunes to learn. 

Slow Moving Clouds: Starfall
PEOPLE music
21 September 2018

Released this week (21 Sept.), Slow Moving Cloud’s second album is even more ambitious and multi-layered than the first. The standout track on 2015’s Os was ‘Hiljainen Suru’, which is actually quite different to the rest of the recording. On Starfall, the trio (AKI – nyckelharpa, vocals; Danny Diamond – fiddle; Kevin Murphy – cello, vocals) build vocal tracks around slow tunes, and vice versa. The upbeat ‘Trin’ leaps out, but so too does the brooding ‘Droghedy’. The group launch the album in Whelan’s in Dublin on 23 September, before heading off for a UK tour this October.


Please send details of all new releases to newreleases [at] For further details on our monthly round-ups of new releases and long-form reviews, please visit

Published on 19 September 2018

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