Where this differs from Transatlantic Sessions - besides focusing solely on Irish music - is that they went out into well-known traditional music pubs rather than the slightly clinical musicians-only environment. I guess that meant the musicians couldn't be surrounded by dozens of mikes, there wasn't opportunity for thorough sound checks, etc; anyway whatever the reason, the sound quality is bad. Is it compensated for by a gain in atmosphere? It's hard to say. It's early, people haven't got warmed up, a lot of the players have pints of *water* in front of them for God's sake! I think BBC Alba's Horo Gheallaidh is the show that has best succeeded in bringing the 'music bar' feel to TV. This one feels a little bit stiff and cold.
As soon as you decide to record, and especially film, a session, you destroy the spontaneity that is its essence. Still, it's a rare opportunity to see some of the music's greatest exponents in action: Joe Burke, Matt Molloy, Jackie Daly, Seamus Begley etc. The best set though, and the most atmospheric, is the last, played by a band of all-comers in Kinvara. Maybe it's because it hadn't been rehearsed; Mairtin O'Connor comments that the set was put together on the spur on the moment.