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World Music CD Reviews Celtic & Irish

SHARON SHANNON, FRANKIE GAVIN, MICHAEL McGOLDRICK, JIM MURRAY

By Marty Lipp
Published September 27, 2005

Tunes
Compass

Here four top-notch instrumentalists from the world of Celtic traditional music get together to chase down some lovely and lively tunes. Recorded in three sessions, this album brings together four accomplished musicians who apparently felt an affinity strong enough to create a joint project, and you can feel it in the resulting music. Generally things are upbeat and elegantly played, with the spirit of a friendly pub session—lots of energy with little ego showing. The set list is mostly original tunes written jointly by the players that fall within the parameters of Irish trad, with a few small steps over the boundaries. Sharon Shannon has been critically acclaimed and popularly received since her best-selling debut in the 1990s and this album finds her hewing a bit closer to traditional instrumental music than she has in her own recent albums. Fiddler Frankie Gavin was with De Dannan and flute player Michael McGoldrick was with both Capercaille and Flook; rounding out the band is Jim Murray on guitar. Fans of Shannon will love this sunny jaunt, as will other fans of Celtic instrumental music that is contemporary but within the spirit of the tradition.