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DONAL LUNNY "Donal Lunny Coolfin" Blue Note 724349354227

Strangely enough, released on the Blue Note label - more noted for Jazz and Blues releases - this one arrived for review straight from the production company.

After seeing the band play a storming set at Cambridge this year it was a joy to have this one land on the mat! A few notes on who the backing players are would have been appreciated though ...

This is Donal Lunny's first group album for a few years, and it's well worth the wait. Well known for his involvement with Planxty and the Bothy Band as well as Moving Hearts, this new line-up (and album) surely is destined to be seen to be one of the major releases in recent years. Irish music it definitely is, but with eastern influences and instruments that add and fill out the sound with a hypnotic influence. This is one of those albums that deserve a large glass of something in your hand, sit down, relax and turn it up!

Nollaig Casey's fiddle takes the melody on the first track - Spanish Point - with a strong rhythmic backing, which carries you along. An old favourite "The Lowlands of Holland" is the next to be given the treatment. Haunting vocals and backing here. "Glentown" follows, uilleann pipes taking the lead (John McSherry?) and quickly joined by what sounds like Sharon Shannon on accordion. Things move up a gear when Nollaig Casey joins in. Particular favourites are "The Mouseskin Shoe And Dancing At Allihies", the "Moldavian Tryptich" and "Suil A Ruin".

A fantastic album that hasn't left the CD player since it arrived.

Apologies if I have some of the musicians mis-credited, but I'm guessing here (and to far from the stage at Cambridge to be sure!).

John Weatherby

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This album was reviewed in Issue 30 of The Living Tradition magazine.