athas

athas

 Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA
BandFolkAcoustic

Traditional (and original) Irish fiddle tunes, as well as intricately arranged songs; driven by hot bodhran rhythms and complimented with sweet guitar backing.

Band Press

Irish Fest in Milwaukee – Rambles.net

Irish Fest
in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
(20 August 2005)


Every year, the third day of Irish Fest begins with a 5K run and walk around the festival grounds to benefit the Arthritis Foundation. This year, music was provided for the event by Athas, a new band from Milwaukee. Members include Heather Lewin-Tiarks on fiddle, Jeff Ksiazek on flute and Amy Richter on bodhran and whistle.... (athas) was pretty good, especially since it was their first big gig. They represent the traditional music that is played in Milwaukee really well and, despite the heat, people were standing in the bright sun, watching the band and enjoying the tunes....

Folkworld CD Review – Folkworld

áthas
Own Label 15 tracks, 47 minutes

This Irish American trio from Milwaukee plays in a relaxed jaunty style, capturing the spirit of the music with a confident full sound. As an independent debut recording, this CD is impressively slick and polished. Fiddle, guitar and bodhrán are the core instruments of Athas, with whistles and flute on a few tracks. There's more than a hint of Lunasa in some of the woodwind arrangements, although they're clearly not in the same league. Amy Richter is a young bodhrán player, recently winning the US mid-west chamionship. Heather Lewin-Tiarks is a time-served fiddler, Jeffrey Ksiazek plays guitar and woodwind. Names to conjure with indeed!

This recording includes eight compositions by the threesome, along with other Irish American influences, but the majority of the material is solid old traditional melodies. A couple of polkas start proceedings, compositions by Jeff and fellow fluter Kathleen Bremer, with the twists and turns of Sliabh Luachra. Spootiskerry, attributed to Ian Burns, is joined by Heather's reel for Seamus O'Kane. Jeff's charming waltz Inion Ní Mhicheál precedes a pair of whistle-led jigs with a lovely change into Scatter the Mud. Two traditional slides round off the first section of this album in great style.

There's a slight waning of confidence and attack in the midddle section, but things pick up again with a lively bodhran intro to Drowsy Maggie and The Mountain Road. Three powerful sets of polkas follow, including the catchy Heather's Polka, before the traditional Paper Plate Slide brings us to the final hornpipes: The Home Ruler and Cronin's, played with bounce and enthusiasm, and maybe just a touch too much guitar. I'm looking forward to hearing more from Athas, and they're definitely worth catching if you're passing through Milwaukee.

Alex Monaghan

Irish Music Magazine CD Review – Irish Music Magazine

ÁTHAS
Áthas CD 001
15 Tracks
Running Time 48.22

Áthas has become the band of choice for dancers in the Chicago and Milwaukee areas in a very short time. Their first album is self-titled: Irish for joy and happiness. It is an interesting and tuneful work, made up of old tunes and new compositions.

Áthas is made up of fiddler Heather Lewin-Tiarks, Jeff Ksiazek on guitar, whistles, and flute and Amy Richter on bodhrán, djiembe and whistles. Guest, Kathleen Bremer, joins them on flute. The fifteen pieces on the album cover a wide range of styles. It opens with a pair of tunes written by the trio, The Cheesehead Polka/ The $150 Boot polkas delivered in perfect dance rhythm. The old reliable, Boys of Tandagree is teamed up with a couple of other jigs, Tuesday Morning/Checkered Blanket, written by Heather.

Iníon ní Mhicheál is a sweet and sweeping waltz written by Jeff Ksiazek with the three blending in perfectly. His guitar leads into the tune, and is followed by Lewin-Tiarks fiddle, and then Richter’s drumming. Richter’s drumming is also prominently featured on the reels Drowsy Maggie/Mountain Road/Tam Lin. Lewin-Tiarks comes to the fore on Spootiskerry/Teatime with Seamus with nicely balanced delivery. Ksiazek and Richter collaborate on whistles on An Choisir/Micho Russell’s/Rejected Suitor with Lewin-Tiarks providing the backing rhythm on fiddle.

The only complaint I have is the freshman sensibility of trying to be too clever, which the band does by adding fake break endings on a couple of the tunes. Other than that, this is really a very well played and produced work. Áthas it is, joyful to hear.

Brian Witt