Green Linnet (www.greenlinnet.com)

Lúnasa emerged from groups as diverse as the Waterboys and Moving Cloud. Everything from rock to the traditional side of Irish music is well-represented by the quartet and their guests.

Lúnasa, with guest piper Cillian Vallely (center),
live at WPKN radio in Connecticut

cd cover Kevin Crawford has worked with Moving Cloud and Moher, among others. An excellent solo recording, d' flute album, shows him to be a fine exponent of flute, whistles and bodhrán. His lead work here is flowing and melodic, bridging the worlds of traditional music and 'that new Irish jazz,' the style where improvisation around strong melodies meets rhythms fused from many cultures, all placed in context by instruments from Ireland and beyond.

How many recordings has Trevor Hutchinson made over the years? It comes as no surprise to see Trevor Hutchinson so in demand with his distinctive bass sound. He adds not just a deep rhythm, but offers a tuneful bowing and also plays cello. Donogh Hennessy is a Sharon Shannon band alum whose deft guitar work adds a strong drive to the rhythm; never stodgy and never speeding away. His inventive use of chord progressions makes delightful listening.

Sean Smyth plays fiddle, whistles and viola. Along with Crawford, he provides the main thrust to the melodies. And like Crawford, his ornamentation and sense of rhythm is well-suited to the sound of the band as it links different musical worlds.

The pipes and whistles of guest musicians Mike McGoldrick and John McSherry add a certain exotic appeal without changing the band's overall sound too greatly. I can imagine Lúnasa playing as effectively without them. Their addition is another spice in the pot: welcome, different, and certainly not superfluous. The addition of Stephen McDonald's flügelhorn is a wonder; lazy and easy, it slides in harmony to the fiddle, flute and whistle, bringing a feel of brass bands and Sunday afternoons.

But the band's attraction lies in the tight, inventive improvisation, the wide repertoire and the excellent playing of the four regulars. This style is often associated with folk like Donal Lunny and Davy Spillane. Lúnasa work well within the genre as they move further forward a step or two. While sounding tight, they have room to breathe with the feeling of improvisation in the air. - Jamie O'Brien

The band's web site: www.lunasa.ie

Buy it at cdroots.com

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Photo ©1999 Cliff Furnald
Audio File: Lafferty's / Crock of Gold / Lady Birr / Abbey Reel
©1999 Lunasa and SGO Music, published by Green Linnet, US. Used by express permission
Text ©1999 RootsWorld. No reproduction of any part of this page or its associated files is permitted without express written permission.