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Dingle doesn’t disappoint with annual Feile na Bealtaine festival of Irish music and arts

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Six of the 11 songs are in Irish, and all have a very appealing contemporary sound to them no matter what their vintage. She has also gathered a tasty crop of stellar musicians to lend a hand in Gerry O’Beirne, Michael Rooney, Oisin McAuley, Mick Kinsella, James Blennerhasset, Billy Mag Fhloinn (her husband) and Liam Flanagan.

The first time that I had ever seen or heard Damien Mullane play the button accordion was a part of the 2006 Comhaltas Echoes of Erin North America tour.  The young West Londoner had won the Senior All-Ireland Championship in 2005 and would win again in 2007.  You could tell he was destined for stardom with his easy command of the box. 

Born in Cork and raised in London, he moved back over to Ireland when he could. His prowess won him a seat alongside the lightning fast Frankie Gavin in De Danann for a time, and he made his way down to Dingle where box players are as revered as the singers. 

I caught him in O’Sullivan’s Courthouse Pub, one of the regular session places he appears when not touring, and finally got my hands on his solo CD 13 which was released last July.

The album reflects his adventurous and daring nature and his mastery over his instrument.  Despite his tender years, he has a well-developed sense of musicality that is evident on the 12 tracks on the CD.

Donagh Hennessy produced it in his West Kerry studio Mhic An Daill and it features him, Trevor Hutchinson, Zoe Conway, Eamonn de Barra, John Joe Kelly, Dessie Kelliher and Pauline Scanlon for good measure.  Mullane may be a “blow-in,” to Dingle but he seems to fit right in with the musical magic there.

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