Séamus Egan

Traditional Music of Ireland

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Over two decades after this album was recorded and released, it's rather funny to look at the cover photo of Seamus Egan in his cargo pants with his feathered haircut and sweet, unassuming smile. In the intervening years he became a superstar producer of modern Irish folk groups and a highly sought-after studio musician, with a wardrobe tending toward black leather and no more on-camera smiles. In 1986 he was a new face on the scene, a remarkably talented teenage multi-instrumentalist who had already won all-Ireland titles on four different instruments. On this album he plays flute, tres, mandolin, tenor banjo, uilleann pipes, and whistle, all of them not only with surprising virtuosity but also with an even more surprising maturity and assurance. His repertoire is unusually broad as well, and this program includes not only the predictable Irish reels and jigs but also a set of gavottes by J.S. Bach, a Swedish waltz, and another from Newfoundland. The synthesizer on the Bach set is a bit awkward, but just about everything else on this album is an unqualified delight. Highlights include that Swedish waltz, which is gently gorgeous, and a medley of reels here entitled "The Maids of Galway."

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