Ciaran Ryan Band

Traverse Theatre
April 30th, 2023

Edinburgh’s Traverse Theatre is a hot spot for this year’s Tradfest celebration in its nonremittent 10th year. The 1st stage had a wonderfully steep slope from up and down to the stage, gets you excitement in your stomach. As we waited for another of the 2023 Tradfest performance’s this time called simply the Ciaran Ryan Band it was to unveil the greatest urge to dance.

Quick paced Scottish/Irish traditional music played as a band having fun times. As usual many artists at this festival share their skills in their flexible collaborations and lend their hand to the spinning rock of organisation. Ciaran’s music and band formation depend on peoples love for music, not only music but importantly style, the kind that has lived in this form for many centuries in the heart of rural and urban, far out or next door. But still cries from its bountiful origins with the intention of super celebration.

Their thumping rhythm played incidentally by the revered Shooglenifty drummer James Mackintosh was just a pleasure, something quite different about it that I could not place but ruckus beats shook us in our seats.

The fun time of this band grew within the room, to an audience simply bursting to dance. Ciaran has wound his way up for over a decade of dedicated banjo playing (banjo and accordion have been main theme this year) as the music adheres to the past but also the future and all the semblances in-between.

Touring as he has, with various members, his quick tones and lead rhythms create something of a cavalcade that worked every time in the 2 hour set. I felt a sense of finding freedom going to the festival this year and I wonder how big the world must be and revel in what I haven’t come across yet, the music is just so flavoursome.

Ciaran dances with his original compositions and his lightning banjo playing is propelling him into something of a phenomenon and should I say into becoming a most revered star. The set leaped forth, pulled back, even got distracted in its elements; the sense of forging forth in a way as old as the hills and as young as time itself.

Spirits were captures whoops were blown the occasion rose to the delight of making a kind of traditional magic happening. My view at the top grew more and more involved with every song and nuance of the moment. The crowd swelled so much it could no longer contain itself people leaped from their seats to jive righteously to the right of stage and the musicians smiled a righteous smile and bled into the thunderous, fabulous, height creating music held in its long held traditions.

There was an upkeep and a filter with signs of life everywhere lifting in the presence of unity that the music screams of fit for all, shaped by all and so graciously performed by all. Tones of surprises, timing (with those wonderful skipped beats and quiet to loud walks so well suited to any Celtic music) we were as lively as they were experiencing their very whim as they set the sense of greatness bringing into the occasion a whole shore of wonders. They played their socks off and hearts out, you could see how strong each of their bonds were with the splendour that is always captured with each instrument making history.

For they did make for history and celebrate it wherever they go; so as to make a call on the grounds that they are the best at what they do. Fun was outpouring, overwhelming, frank and joyfully so, lovingly young and on fire that just makes you feel alright, then splendid then long over the moon. A desire is cast into it whipping up spirit and a need for all things human, achieving the communal saying setting the house on fire. We thank you for spreading this joyful heightened mood.

Daniel Donnelly

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