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World Music CD Reviews Celtic & Irish

LUNASA

By MARTY LIPP
Published June 5, 2006

Redwood
Green Linnet

With this latest album, the Irish instrumental group hits its long-haul stride: a bit slower than earlier sprints, but equally assured. The formula remains the same, though still welcome. The brilliant soloists (Kevin Crawford on flute, Sean Smith on fiddle, Cillian Vallely on uilleann pipes) spin out gorgeous skeins of melodies that intertwine as if they had wings, while the rhythm section of Trevor Hutchinson on double bass and Donough Hennessy on guitar keep the flights of fancy firmly grooved. Essentially traditional Irish jigs and reels, Lunasa uses this base to start, arranging an improvisational feel of a jam band or jazz combo. Instead of simply taking turns at solos, the members work the tunes as a collective evolution, changing shape and dynamics seamlessly, in a seemingly telepathic collaboration. Interspersed among the brisker tunes are some slow, lovely airs, proving the Lunasa lads are not just nimble-fingered, but also adept at a lyrical expressiveness.