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Providence - "A Fig For A Kiss" - RORICD002

I first came across Providence after hearing John Wynne's solo flute album. Wanting to hear more, I bought the group's first CD and liked it. This is their second, which is usually the trickiest for anybody. Not to worry, this is up to the standard of the previous outing. The only line-up change is Clodagh Boylan on fiddle instead of Méabh Ó Hare. The instrumental balance is slightly different with a wee bit more prominence to Mícheál Ó Raghallaigh's concertina this time out, but that's no harm. They're not out to make a particular "sound" but to show different blends of instruments.

Seven dance tracks, one slow air and five songs with nothing you wouldn't be happy to listen to for a long time. "The Road To Lisdoonvarna" is mostly played as a jig, odd times as a reel, but Providence play a fling version that works well. The other tracks are a mix of old friends and less widely known tunes. They've even adapted a tune learned from the McDonagh brothers of Ballinafad as a waltz and made a slow air of it. It probably was originally an air, as many of the older players used to play airs in 3:4 time, so they've restored to to its rightful place.

I get the feeling that Joan McDermott is more at home with the two songs in Irish than the three in English. Maybe they're more suited to her singing style, but they do flow more easily. None of the songs are hackneyed though and include some rare gems. She's done her homework in the National Archives , and found a fine song in "Muiris Ó Coinnleáin", from the Waterford tradition.

Providence have overcome the dreaded "second CD" hazard; we'll hear more of them in future.

Mick Furey

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This album was reviewed in Issue 46 of The Living Tradition magazine.