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VARIOUS ARTISTS "The Piping Concert Celtic Connections" KRL CDLDL1270

That a CD containing more Uilleann, Northumbrian and Breton piping than it does Highland piping should be treasured by those with a serious interest in the Highland pipes, might seem a bit strange. Yet in eighteen minutes, split fifty-fifty between Uilleann and Highland piping, the source of much of the energy that is in Highland piping today is neatly captured. Simply (very simply) put, if Paddy Keenan didn't play the way he does then it is unlikely that Gordon Duncan would play the way he does, and the whole direction of Highland piping would be different (discuss at length over much whisky). So in four sets we get first the majesty of Paddy in slow and awesome mode followed by his prodigy (albeit unknown to Paddy) who is equally as show stopping (and drone stopping to boot). Eighteen minutes to be treasured.

None of the above should be taken to imply that the rest of the CD is duff, it most definitely is not. Dr Angus MacDonald (one of the three ... etc) fills his nine minutes with two sets of traditional strathspeys and reels and a march and jig set. As always with Dr Angus the tunes are exceptionally well played and illustrate that good music needn't be played at four hundred miles an hour.

Pauline Cato on Northumbrian pipes and Tom McConville on fiddle skip through a set of hornpipes before slowing down for J Scott Skinner's "Herr Roloffs Farewell".

Piping polymath Patrick Molard closes the CD with a selection of traditional tunes from Brittany on the Highland pipe and some Breton tunes on the biniou. Like Dr Angus, Patrick has a very expressive style and is a delight to listen to.

Treasure it for the juxtaposition of Paddy and Gordon and enjoy the quality contributions of the other performers.

Chris MacKenzie

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