Ben Lennon & Friends
The Natural Bridge
County Leitrimís Lennons are one of Irelandís mightiest musical families and their home base is Kiltyclogher, near the Fermanagh border, an area renowned for its jaunty fiddle music. The familyís elder statesman Ben has been playing fiddle for more than 60 years with an undulating, weaving bowing style heavily influenced by the neighbouring Sligo legends Michael Coleman, James Morrison and Paddy Killoran whose 78s recorded in the USA in the 1920s and 1930s catalysed Irish traditional music, not least back home in Ireland.
But Leitrim has its own music too, a bouncy and infectious brand, and thereís no better place to hear it than on Benís new album which, for added authenticity, was recorded live in Meehanís Cosy Corner Bar, Kiltyclogher.† Benís intricate fingering is best heard on the hornpipes Maguireís Fiddle/OíDonnellís, associated with Killoran, but thereís equally fine flute and viola-playing from sons Brian and Maurice (a long-time member of Stocktonís Wing) and Benís younger brother Charlie on violin and piano. Other friends who dropped by from Fermanagh include Altanís CiarŠn Curran (mandola), fiddler Fr. Sťamus Quinn and acclaimed singer Gabriel McArdle. Buy this and linger a while in Leitrim!
This snippet of a review by Geoff Wallis was originally written for a long defunct website collaboration between The Rough Guides and Amazon, hence the somewhat breathy style. Subsequent to this review I visited Meehanís Cosy Corner in Kiltyclogher and it is a friendly place, but, sadly, there was no sign of Ben or any other musicians.