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Niall O'Callanain "Strings and Things" Pressure 1RE 9802

There is a lot of very fine music on Strings and Things played by first class musicians. Niall himself plays acoustic and electric bouzoukis, bouzooki effects (?), acoustic guitar, mandolin and bass. His fellow musicians are Maire Breatnach on fiddle and viola, Mano Mgoma - percussion, Mairtin O'Connor - button accordion and Kevin Shields on flute and whistles. Between them this talented bunch produce exciting and attractive music of what I like to call the "busy" kind. By that I mean there is always a lot going on, so it helps to pay attention. Not to say that this is a difficult CD to listen to, it is not. Indeed you can listen to Strings and Things at whatever level you like, but as with most things the more you put in the more you get out.

Niall composed all the tunes. There are jigs, hornpipes, polkas etc. and very good they are, but this is not your average 'folky' stuff. The arrangements are elaborated and expressive and on occasion a little fussy. Even so, I think other musicians will pick some of the tunes up in time, Soporific (hornpipes) for example.

A well produced, well played album of good tunes that will reward the attentive listener. The 'mixture' may be a little rich now and then, nice though.

Danny Sanders


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This album was reviewed in Issue 41 of The Living Tradition magazine.