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SEAMUS TANSEY - "Easter Snow" - Temple Records COMD2063

Temple's supremo Robin Morton says in his notes that he felt compelled to convince Seamus into the recording studio, and we should all be very pleased at the persuasive powers of your man, since this CD is one which would hold its own in any collection of flute music.

Seamus Tansey, from Gurteen, County Sligo, has been playing flute all his life - I don't know how old he is, but he must have practised a lot to come up with a standard of this quality! Backed here by Tony McManus on guitar, John McCusker on keyboards and cittern, Alison Kinnaird on wire-strung harp and Robin Morton on bodhran, seamus gives us a selection of tunes which fully exploits the range of feeling possible from his chosen instrument, from driving energy in the jigs and reels to a weaving sensitivity in slower numbers such as "Lament for the Death of Staker Wallace" or the title track.

There is always a danger that albums featuring a single instrument may become a trifle repetitive or similar, but the choice here is delightful in its variety, nearly all traditional, but drawn from many areas of Ireland and reflecting the subtle variations in style, rhythm and nuance that constitutes that tradition. But there is something else here, and that is the sheer presence of the flautist - there always seems to be to be a certain personality which true exponents of the flute imbue their music with, and there is a feeling and passion contained in this selection which just gives a special edge to it.

In addition to all that, he sings a powerful version of "The May Morning Dew", a poem originally, but set to music to tell of times before the famine in a moving way.

An excellent recording that is certainly going to be played a lot.

Gordon Potter

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This album was reviewed in Issue 21 of The Living Tradition magazine.