“The hottest band in the celtic realm” – The Boston Globe
“A match made in heaven” and “The best traditional Irish band” – Dolly Parton on her collaboration with Altan on her albums Heartsongs (1994) and Little Sparrow (2001)
The spirit and sound of Altan comes from the deep and rich musical tradition of their native County Donegal. On one of his many visits to the Donegal Gaeltacht of Gaoth Dobhair, Belfast-born flute player Frankie Kennedy met fiddler and singer Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh, sparking off a deep musical connection, marriage in 1981, and a journey that took them all over the world. Their vision was to bring the unique repertoire of Donegal music to the world and that mission is still as strong as ever.
Singer and founding member Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh became the 2017 recipient of the TG4 Gradam Ceoil/Traditional Musician of the Year (one of Ireland’s highest musical honors), recognizing her prominent role in supporting, nurturing, and strengthening Irish traditional music.
In celebration of the band’s latest album, The Gap of Dreams, the band has brought their music all over Europe and Ireland, the US and Canada, Japan, Australia and even North Africa. The latest album celebrates the roots of their music in Donegal folklore. It was recorded in the Attica Studios in the mountains of Donegal which contributed to a wonderful atmosphere that permeated the recording. The title refers to that “gap” or “door” between this and the “other world.” The older fiddlers always associated the “other world” with the source of their music and inspiration. They would poetically describe encountering the fairy folk or listening to tunes on the wind or in the sound of the waves.