Yesterday we handed over a cheque from proceeds from the sales of the CD to St Francis Hospice Raheny. Here with Brendan McGrath and Rita McGrath (right).

Great interview with Fergus and his son Fergus Browne telling the story of recording the Make The Circle Wide album on Newfoundland radio including airings of Glenties and Black Is The Colour. Brought back to me all the fun of that wonderful week recording! M.

Thanks to RTE presenter Donncha O Dualaing for playing Brid singing Carraig Donn last night on Failte Isteach.

The cd just received a great review on www.tradconnect.com:

"a family project involving the direct descendants of Michael and Ellen McGrath and their spouses and partners. As with a lot of families they have been spread across the globe from Australia to New Zealand, USA, Canada and the UK. Two craic-filled family get-togethers recently held in Dublin provided the inspiration for recording a CD reminiscent of a family tradition of house hoolies with party pieces and all that goes with it. ...a very enjoyable recording that shows what can happen when a very talented family get together to put something down on record. "
Read Full Review Here

Yes it's confirmed that Aine and Fergus are lined up for an appearance on the John Murray Show RTE Radio 1 on Monday morning 4th August between 9 and 11. They have decided to use The McGraths in an item on Family Reunions, so I will be there to talk about how our reunions came about and about how the resulting CD evolved. Good luck Aine and Fergus!!

Maurice's song "Glenties" with Fergus singing from the "Make The Circle Wide" CD will be played on Donegal Highland Radio by Packie Keeney tonight Monday between 9:10 and 9:30. 

For Canada and US now available here

Elsewhere now available here.

Liffey FM radio played Bobby McGee and Glenties tonight... "Ah my heavens, I think that is absolutelty fabulous... it's wonderful to think that we have such great talent in our midst." DJ Pádraig McGarrigle, Liffey FM http://live.liffeysoundfm.ie/

The title "Make The Circle Wide" is inspired by a line from "The man from God knows where", a poem about Corkman Thomas Russell, a United Irishman who went North to organize Presbyterians for the 1798 rebellion viz "We're a civil sort in our wee place so we made the circle wide... ". The concept captures a family desire to bond growing generations of evermore farflung descendants through sharing and recording their music and singing. 

The family circle encompasses the direct descendants of Michael [d 1953] and Ellen McGrath [d1982] and their spouses and partners, living at times as far afield as Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada, Zimbabwe and England. Two very successful craic-filled family get-togethers were held in recent years in DUblin. Such was the enjoyment of the music and songs of family members that it sparked the idea with Brendan McGrath of having them recorded on CD, harking back to a family tradition of house hoolies enlivened by party pieces.

Proceeds from the sale of this CD are being donated to St Francis Hospice, Raheny, Dublin, Ireland and Dr. H. Bliss Murphy Bliss Cancer Care Foundation, St. John’s, NL, Canada.

With the generous financial backing of Brendan and Eamonn McGrath, this venture was given further impetus by the visit of musician cousins Fergus O'Byrne and Fergus Brown-O'Byrne from Newfoundland. Fergus senior was a member of the well known group, Ryan's Fancy, and a renownded singer in Canada for over 40 years. His son Fergus is an accomplished concertina and accordian player. Maurice McGrath, songwriter, musician and singer, added his original compositions to the family's repertoire. Photography is all courtesy of talented photographer Gerard McGrath.

The resulting cd is an eclectic mix of trad/folk music, both old and new from both sides of the Atlantic. It is a prime example of the complexities and nuances of music and talent which have nourished our families and our culture at home and abroad. As a family, we can rest assured that this tradition is in good hands with the younger generation taking on the challenge with great gusto.

The tracks recorded are a mix of tradional Irish ballads and tunes, songs from Newfoundland, Australia and America, and also feature three new songs by Maurice and a new instrumental piece by Stephen Murphy.

Recordings were done in Westland Studios under the expert direction of sound engineer Alwyn Walker and John O'Kelly.