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SHASKEEN "25th Silver Jubilee Collection" GTD Heritage Records CDFA 3509

Shaskeen are one of the most popular Irish touring bands ever to hit this side of the water and they've released both a CD and a video to celebrate - in their typical low-key style - 25 years in the business.

If you don't believe they've been around that long just cast a glance through the sleeve notes of the CD and see the fresh-faced youths in one of the starting line-ups.

The band began in London's Kentish Town, but founder members Tom Cussen (banjo) and Benny O'Connor (drums) soon moved back to Ireland andbased themselves in Galway from where their sphere of influence has continued to spread.

The album's 22 tracks range from 1975 to the present and mix impeccably-timed jigs, reels, hornpipes and polkas with songs from past and present vocalists.

It's a delightful souvenir of a live gig but can stand on its own as some supreme examples of traditional Irish ensemble playing.

Alan Brown

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This album was reviewed in Issue 15 of The Living Tradition magazine.