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Folk/Trad albums: Time standing still on The Fate of Bones

The latest Trad and Folk album reviews from Pet O'Connell.

The Fate of Bones

Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh and Dan Trueman

The fate of the Gallagh Man’s bones was exhumation from a Galway bog, some 2,000 years being placed there following their owner’s probable killing by strangulation.

Before reaching their current resting place in the National Museum, the bones and the rest of the Iron Age man’s body, preserved by the bog, had been repeatedly exhumed and reburied as a macabre 1820s tourist attraction.

How the Clonshannagh Woman met her demise is unclear, but her bones, scattered by a turf-cutting machine in Roscommon, likewise inspired one of the sparse, haunting tracks on the second collaborative album by improvisational composer Dan Trueman and The Gloaming’s Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh.

Both perform on 10-string Norwegian-style hardanger d’amore fiddles, whose ‘sympathetic’ understrings give a resonance entirely in keeping with the melancholic theme of this sequel to the pair’s 2014 debut, Laghdú.

Trueman and Ó Raghallaigh have no lofty notions about the fate of their music, and predict that “in 100 years’ time, their instruments will be splintered, their names forgotten, their digital downloads will long since have disappeared”.

Set against future oblivion there is a sense of time standing still in The Fate of Bones, whose drones and eerie discordance conjure ghosts of baroque elegance, mingling with Scottish and Scandinavian inflections and slow-motion echoes of the jigs and marches of Ó Raghallaigh’s Irish traditional music persona.

The sense of space in the precision bowing on tracks such as ‘Haw’ and the abstract experimentalism on the counter-clockwise ‘Widdershins’ make this music for meditation, in whose immersion artistic creativity of any hue might flourish.



Hot on the heels of this year’s debut album No Fixed Abode comes a live EP of delicious harmonies and melodic mellifluence from Northern Irish folk trio Trú.

Released on Bandcamp in lieu of their cancelled Irish and European tour, the four tracks include refreshing new takes on ‘The Patriot Game’ and the lament ‘Bonny Portmore’, the rich vocals of Anúna’s Dónal Kearney and Zach Trouton with Lisburn-Ukranian multi-instrumentalist Michael Mormecha inviting favourable comparison with Ye Vagabonds and Lankum.