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BOHINTA "Sessions" Aarde AMCD001

I saw Bohinta - Martin Furey and his sister Aine (the younger generation of a famous family), at Beverley Festival a couple of years ago and was impressed. I saw them last year at Warwick and was even more impressed, and they were talking of the release of an album. This is it - 'The Sessions', a collection of recordings spanning some seven years, tracking the development of the band from 1990 to the present, through six recording studios, and with a total of sixteen guest musos. And it's a great album, just great.

The tracks don't run in chronological order, they have been sensibly structured around their content giving the whole a well-balanced cohesion. All the songs were written by Martin, although three were written in collaboration with others, and show both originality and maturity. Influences can be identified, but they are only influences, the songs are genuinely individualistic, as are the arrangements with 'Heaven' and 'Fortsong' being particularly impressive. The singing is also excellent, with both Martin and Aine have terrifically expressive voices which put me in mind of Paul Brady and Linda Thompson respectively. Alright, a bit fanciful perhaps, but they both sing with power and accomplishment beyond their years. Aine puts in a remarkable performance on 'Hand in Hand' and Martin is superb on the opening song 'Home' which also has some very fine piping. The final track 'Halflight' also features the pipes in another interesting arrangement, with Martin and Aine singing together and complementing each other perfectly. A fine track to finish a fine album.

It would be nice to know who the musicians were, 'cos the standard of musicianship throughout the album is really superb, and they deserve recognition, all sixteen of them! And maybe the words would be nice. But these are very minor points when put in context of this album. I don't know why it has taken Bohinta so long to release a CD, but I do know that 'Sessions' shows a sophistication, maturity, and attention to detail that is rare on any recording, let alone a debut, and I believe it is destined to become one of the major album releases of '97.

Mel Howley

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This album was reviewed in Issue 23 of The Living Tradition magazine.