Saturday, December 29, 2007


"The Kinnitty Sessions" [LIVE]

by Michelle Osborne:
Lunasa's first album arrived on the scene in 1997, a natural outgrowth of their time spent playing together. Since then, they have produced 4 more albums, as well as several solo albums. Lunasa's musical sound is defined by the uilleann pipes (an instrument that most of these Irish "super groups" sadly seem to do without) and the use of an acoustic bass. Unashamedly influenced by jazz music, Lunasa's music is filled with a variety of syncopations and lush harmonies that are expertly woven into both traditional and newly-composed tunes.

The Kinnitty Sessions album was recorded live in front of a small audience (though the sound quality is so good you wouldn't actually know this) in Ireland's supposedly haunted Kinnitty Castle. The opening track is typical Lunasa and is a true joy to listen to. The first tune is an entirely traditional rendition of the jig, the Stolen Purse, played on pipes (Cillian Vallely) and flute (Kevin Crawford). The second tune, An Síoda, brings in the accompaniment in a syncopated pattern that is Lunasa's jazz-influenced sound at its best. After a brief pause, the full group launches into the final tune, Brendan McMahon's Reel. Yes, that's right. One of the hallmarks of Lunasa's tune arrangements is their change between tune types in the middle of a set. While this is far from traditional, it brings an unexpected and refreshing twist to the music.

Other highlights on this album are Kevin Crawford's whistle playing on the reel set entitled Island Paddy (besides a gorgeous whistle tone quality, his technique and style are amazing to listen to), a gorgeous uilleann pipe air entitled The Wounded Hussar, and a fantastic moment on the Walrus track where three members of the ensemble (Kevin and Cillian are joined by Sean Smyth, the fiddle player) all play low whistles and weave in and out of harmony and melody with each other.

Like Solas, Lunasa is not quite pure-drop trad. But if you want a fun album to listen to, this, or any of their other four albums, comes highly recommended. You can find more information on Lunasa at the Lunasa website.


Anonymous yabanjin said...


31 December, 2007 02:25  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

01 January, 2008 04:37  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I saw Lunasa in my home town and they were brilliant. Also Chris Dreiver play at the Orkney Folk festival. They're absolutely brilliant!

31 August, 2008 22:57  

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