Beoga (from left) features guitarist Seán Óg Graham , accordian player Damian McKee, bodhrán champion Eamon Murray and singer-fiddle player Niamh Dunne.
The San Juan Capistrano Regional Library might not share much in common with an Irish pub or a musical destination such as the nearby Swallow's Inn, but not everything is always as it seems.
On Saturday evening, March 1, Irish music quintet Beoga (Irish word for "lively") made their first-ever appearance in San Juan Capistrano and (and if I heard Eamon Murray correctly) the band's first-ever performance at a library. At the first of two shows that evening, Beoga delivered a breathtaking performance featuring material off the troupe's two full-length CDs.
Performing strong instrumentals such as "Soggy's" and "Mischief," as well as artful songs with fiddle player/singer Niamh Dunne taking the spotlight, Beoga is the perfect ambassador for traditional Irish music. Material from the group's 2007 second album was especially well-chronicled at the show, with a sing-along cover of the Steely Dan classic "Dirty Work" and the jazzy-styled "Please Don't Talk" among many highlights of the memorable set. All five musicians were excellent and the arrangements couldn't have been better.
I had a very difficult time not tapping my fingers and feet throughout this infectious night of music making and that was a good thing.