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Clo Iar-Chonnachta CICD 044

This is a stunner. Here we have two musicians from deepest Connemara who sound as though they have been playing together forever. The uillean pipes of Tomas and the button accordion of Seosamh are backed by piano and occasional banjo, and the texture is further varied by solos including a slow air played on the flute by Tomas.

The unusual combination of accordion and pipes is a veritable ceili band in itself, and the seventeen tracks on this CD would keep you dancing for a while. The sound is very tight, with hardly a not going astray. Most of the 35 tunes here are taken at a cracking pace, as behoves ceili musicians, but nevertheless there is a depth of expression and a spirit in the music which raises it well above the end-of-the-night thrash we all know well. The tunes themselves are well-chosen, too: not too many familiar names, but nothing outrageous either.

Well-balanced, bright, unpretentious and technically superb: I really can't fault this one. From a little-known recording company, this album was a very pleasant surprise indeed. I recommend it unreservedly as an excellent example of Irish dance music in its purest form.

Alex Monaghan

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