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CARREG LAFAR "Profiad - Experience" Sain SCD2309

This is the most impressive album yet from Welsh band Carreg Lafar. They have a strong line up, with impressive and passionate vocals, both female and male and a very accomplished instrumental line-up of fiddle, flute/whistles, guitar and assorted bagpipes/mandola/percussion. A good ear for a melody and some excellent arrangements make this stand out as one of the finest albums of Welsh music I have heard. The songs range from the spirited composition by Meic Stephens "Dic Penderyn", describing a Welsh working-class hero who was executed following the Merthyr riots of 1831, driven along by the guitar, with arabesques of melody from the other instruments interspersing the verses, to the haunting love song "Lloer Dirion" which makes excellent use of guest Claudine Cassidy's s cello. Many of the songs are enlivened by tunes written by members of the band, and the slow air "Llanllechid" is a particularly fine duet between violin and Lawson Dando's beautifully judged piano. The band have been making great strides, but since the recording of this album, which should be launching them onto great things, they have lost their guitarist - I hope they get a settled line-up soon and are able to use this terrific album as a springboard to the wider audience they so obviously deserve.

Paul Burgess

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This album was reviewed in Issue 52 of The Living Tradition magazine.