Considered by many to be the best traditional Irish band in the world, Altan were originally a duo consisting of Mairead Ni Mhaonaigh on vocals and fiddle, and Frankie Kennedy on flute. The two (with help from a young Enya on their early work) plunged themselves into the world of jigs, reels, ballads, waltzes and other traditional Irish and English folk, singing pure melodies in Gaelic and writing stunning instrumentals. The group has grown to include a much larger core, incorporating acoustic guitars, accordion, twin fiddle, bouzouki and more -- resulting in a rich, vibrant conglomeration of dynamic sonorities. After releasing a string of masterpieces (including Harvest Storm and Island Angel), tragedy struck when Kennedy died of cancer. The band lives on, releasing excellent music under Ni Mhaonaigh's ongoing direction.