Recommended Listening

Some of my favourites

Here are some recordings that stand with the very best in Celtic music. I seem to have a bias towards live recordings with relatively little in the way of gimmicks. These are not full-fledged reviews, just a bunch of recordings that are currently available and should be in everyone's collection. If you use links to you can support the site by buying through the link!

Martin Hayes and Dennis Cahill - Live in Seattle

Two impeccable musicians in some kind of weird telepathic state. Martin Hayes plays Clare-style fiddle, with Dennis Cahill playing a spare backup guitar that never hits a wrong note. You can find Martin Hayes CDs at

Ashley MacIsaac - Fiddle Music 101 and Live at the Savoy

Ashley MacIsaac was one of the group of young Cape Breton fiddlers that made a big splash on the Canadian music scene in the 90's, only to disappear for a while. I was not a big fan of Ashley's 'bad boy' period, but in the last couple of years he's put away the rock influences and released two real gems: Fiddle Music 101, with guitar player Dave MacIsaac, and Live at the Savoy, with the great Cape Breton pianist Maybelle Chisholm McQueen backing him up. Both are classic examples of Cape Breton fiddling at its best. You can find Ashley MacIsaac's recordings at

Celtic Sessions - Na Connerys

A mystery album when it first came out, because the musicians were not attributed. Detective work established the lineup:
Paddy and Kevin Glackin: fiddles
Sean Og Potts: uilleann pipes, tinwhistle
John Regan: accordion
John Wynne: flute
Tom McDonagh: bouzouki
Mark Kelly: guitar
If you learn all the tunes on this one, you'll be at home in any session. Hard to find, but worth the look. Try here.

Patrick Ourceau and Friends - Live at Monas

Mona's is a pub in the Lower East Side of New York. Patrick Ourceau is a fiddler who has been the mainstay of the session there. The recording is music played among friends - one one track you can hear the pool game in background. You can buy the CD from the website. Sample tracks available.

Buddy MacMaster - The Judique Flyer

Buddy is my favourite Cape Breton fiddler, bar none. This album has him backed up by a different piano player on each track. You can get it at Cranford Publications. Check out the other books and recordings by Cape Breton and Irish fiddlers while you're there.

The Bothy Band - 1975

This is the one that changed Irish music for ever. Triona Ni Dhomhnaill (Harpsichord, Clavinet, Vocals), Micheal O Dhomhnaill (Guitar, Vocals), Paddy Keenan (Uileann Pipes, Whistle), Donal Lunny (Bouzouki), Matt Molloy (Flute, Whistle), Tommy Peoples (Fiddle). Blew the doors off the ceilidh band sound. You can sometimes find Bothy Band at You might have to order from

Eddy Arsenault and family - Party Acadien

This is great driving fiddle music, with the whole Arsenault family on various combinations of fiddles, guitar, piano, harmonica and cardboard box. Still available along with the Barachois CDs from the website.