It’s almost a year ago that I got the opportunity to meet and greet with a new Irish/American trad band. Based in Bristol Borough, PA, USA, they had travelled to Ardara in Donegal for the Cup of Tae Festival 2015. I was doing a feature on the said band for Irish Music Magazine and travelled to meet the folks on the day of their arrival to Donegal. Marian from the band hails from Ardara, so it was lovely meeting them on ‘home turf’.
The River Drivers are a band with roots that run deep in a number of musical genres. Anchored by Kevin McCloskey (vocals, guitar, mandolin, banjo, bass) and Mindy Murray (vocals, guitar, banjo), Marian Moran (tin whistle, low whistle, concertina, bodhrán) and Megan Ratini (fiddle, Irish flute, tin whistle). The River Drivers have cultivated a passion-infused style drawing from Celtic, Americana and Mountain influences.
The River Drivers describe themselves as ‘Four friends, more than half a dozen instruments, and good craic’. When I met them last year they had just released their first album, aptly titled ‘The River Drivers’. An amazing compilation of songs and tunes.
Just this past week they released a new single commemorating the women of 1916 (Cumann na mBan). Based and playing in the US it is just delightful to see such a release and to know that such bands are thinking about, and remembering our very important centenary.
The River Drivers have released this single “Cumann na mBan” to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising, and the Irish women who clasped hands across class boundaries to help lead the fight for an Irish Nation. They were activists, nationalists, feminists and socialists whose ultimate sacrifices were, for far too long, overshadowed by their male comrades in arms.
This new single from the band uses such lyrics as, “Irish women we need you”, “It will take more than fighting”, “A free nation was their duty” and so much more. The constant refrain of “Cumann na mBan” has a haunting effect throughout the track. It echoes Yeats’ refrain “All’s changed, changed utterly: A terrible beauty is born.”
Cumann na mBan can be downloaded at Cash Music. Have a listen and enjoy this wonderful compositon celebrating the women of 1916 (Cumann na mBan).
Cup of Tae Festival 2016 takes place this year, 2016 from Friday 29th April to Monday 2nd May 2016.
Here’s hoping these folk return to Irish shores and showcase their music very soon.