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Published: Friday, 8/13/2004

Irish quintet Teada combines tradition, comtemporary sound

BY TAHREE LANE
BLADE STAFF WRITER

In just three years, the young musicians of Teada have morphed avocation into vocation.

Touring festivals and pubs throughout the United States and Europe, the quintet plays traditional Irish tunes, some dating to the 1800s, some to the 1990s.

"It's impossible to know how they were played 200 years ago. The earliest recordings bring us to about 1913 to 1915, and there were just a few until the 1920s," said Oisin (pronounced oh-sheen) Mac Diarmada, 26, fiddler, vocalist, and band leader. The Gaelic word teada (pronounced tay-dah) means strings.

The band will perform Tuesday night at Mickey Finn's Pub, 602 Lagrange St.

"We try to give not just a cliche formula of Irish music, but a true representation of traditional music," said Mac Diarmada. They infuse lilting airs and dance songs with contemporary fillip.

"It's an attempt to place Irish music in contemporary context, for the modern ear," he said. "We do subtle experimentation; we're being creative on a smaller canvas."

That means working out arrangements with various instruments and vocals.

Some of the band members met in college, and had performed solo. Being part of a band is a different animal. They focused on perfecting their repertoire and getting everyone on sound financial footing, thanks to a good agent, said Mac Diarmada.

"It's a big team effort," he said.

Staying fresh and spontaneous is a challenge. So is finding the mix that will satisfy both audience and the band.

"You try to maintain musical integrity. You try to balance an audience's needs against your own raison d'etre," he said, "not just what an audience wants to hear. It's about bringing an audience with you."

Last year, readers of Irish Music Magazine voted Teada best traditional newcomers. The newest of their two albums is "Give Us a Penny and Let Us Be Gone," on the Celtic-specialist label, Green Linnet Records.

Their dance music includes reels, jigs, hornpipes, barndances, flings, marches, and set dances, All in their 20s, Teada includes John Blake (flute/guitar), Paul Finn (accordion/concertina), Sean McElwain (banjo bouzouki), and Tristan Rosenstock (bodhran/vocals).

Teada plays Tuesday at 8:30 p.m. in Mickey Finn's Pub, 602 Lagrange St. at Huron St. Tickets are $8 in advance, $10 at the door. For information, call 419-246-3466.

Contact Tahree Lane at: tlane@theblade.com

or 419-724-6075.

Next week, they travel to Milwaukee to play for that city's famous Irish festival, which features nearly 80 performers. There, they will take the stage after Tommy Makem and just before Natalie MacMaster and Gaelic Storm.

They return to Ireland for a short break, then it's back to the United States in early September for three weeks of festivals and pub gigs. Then, they head to Germany and back to Ireland. In February, they return to America for festivities leading up to St. Patrick's Day.

Teada plays Tuesday at 8:30 p.m. in Mickey Finn's Pub, 602 Lagrange St. at Huron St. Tickets are $8 in advance, $10 at the door. For information, call 419-246-3466.

Contact Tahree Lane at: tlane@theblade.com

or 419-724-6075.



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