FolkWorld Issue 39 07/2009; Live Report by Adolf „gorhand“ Goriup

Skill and Devotion
Sean Keane @ the Kammgarn, 22 May 2009, Schaffhausen

It was a beautiful and hot May day in Schaffhausen and before the gig I enjoyed a chilled pint of Guinness and a wonderful cream of wild garlic soup at the Kammgarn Beiz. Then well watered and foddered I was looking forward to see one of Ireland’s most famous singers live on stage, Sean Keane. His tour with the Austrian agency Weltenklang has luckily brought him to Schaffhausen as well. Sean played flutes, whistles and the uilleann pipes and had brought along Pat Coyne (guitar) and Sean Regan (fiddle, mandolin, vocals).

Sean Keane

Sean Keane @ FolkWorld: FW#3, #22, #28, #29

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At 9 pm Roli Fricker announced Sean Keane and the rather elderly audience welcomed him with a big hand. From the first song to the last encore the people were in a fantastic mood, singing along, cheering and clapping hands and the three guys thanked them with wonderful songs, brilliant playing together and a few breathtaking dance sets. Sean’s voice sounds a little bit twangy, but his singing is exceptional; together with Regan’s backing vocals they brought forward old as well as new songs, most of them featured on Keane’s recent Live DVD. They were playing two sets with a short break in between.

Even though Keane is a wonderful singer I rather preferred the tunes, brought forward with much skill and devotion. The last set of tunes before the break including “Jenny Picking cockles” was one of the highlights of the evening. Keane on flute and Regan on fiddle were playing together perfectly and Coyne added the brilliant rhythm. The second part of the gig was even better and the audience enjoyed three great musicians giving their best. Another highlight was “Diddling and clicking”: Keane performed some brilliant lilting and Regan accompanied him with some odd mouth percussion. For me the man of the evening was Regan, whose stunning fiddle-playing made the audience enjoy both songs as well as tunes.

Towards the end Keane left the stage for a moment to collect his pipes from the backstage area. The following tunes were played with a pipes-fiddle-guitar line-up and inspired the audience with stirring rhythms and amazing harmonies. After several encores the trio left the stage accompanied by the sound of the cheering audience.
It was another unforgettable evening of “Celtic Music at Kammgarn”, a series of concerts dedicated to international Celtic musicians. It was the first time I saw Keane live and I really appreciated his mix of traditional and original songs, splendid tunes and the blitheful ambiance he and his friends managed to create at the Kammgarn.

Photo Credits: (1) Sean Keane (by Adolf „gorhand“ Goriup).

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