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ANAM "Anam" Anam Records CACD 001

One of the many attractions of Celtic music is the way in which it speaks to the soul. Call it genetic memory or what you will; it is as real as it is impalpable. It should come as no surprise, then, that an exciting new Dublin-based band's self-titled debut recording promises such an experience by their very name - "Anam" (Ir. Gaelic - "soul") - and delivers.

Wending their way through a varied repertoire of traditional and original music, their instrumental expertise provides tight, multi-layered arrangements even while their youthful exuberance maintains an air of spontaneity and fun.

The band, comprised of Brian O hEadhra on vocals and guitar, Myles Farrell on bouzouki, Steve Larkin on fiddle, Seamus MacConaonigh on flute and whistle, John Connolly on button accordion, and Aimee Leonard on vocals and bodhran, has already garnered kudos and awards at various festivals and venues around Europe, and stands poised to take on the rest of the world with their smooth renditions of traditional jigs and reels and their startlingly fine original compositions.

One such track immediately comes to mind: "After the Storm", written by Brian O hEadhra and his former Upstairs in a Tent band-mate Brian Finnegan. O hEadhra's strong, clear delivery of this sea ballad reflects a vocal maturity rarely found in 23 year old voices, covering a wide tonal range and eliciting an array of emotional responses: plaintive, anxious, hopeful, winsome ...

Considering the high mark set by this premiere, Anam will definitely be a band to watch. Their rise will surely be nothing short of meteoric. As O hEadhra said in a recent interview, "We're all into the music for the right reasons, so we can't fail".

Michael Carroll

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This album was reviewed in Issue 12 of The Living Tradition magazine.