A Sunday at the Turn of the Century

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As a founding member of the groundbreaking Celtic punk fusion band Black 47, Chris Byrne (aka Seanchai) has had a chance to explore his vision of hip-hop based on Celtic tunes and Irish nationalist themes; now with his own group, he's had the opportunity to deepen and develop that vision over the course of several albums. A Sunday at the Turn of the Century finds him leading his band through a nicely realized set of hip-hop ("Let Me Tell You Where You're From," "Are You Ready"), dancehall reggae ("I Am Garvaghy Road"), and even vintage soul; among the live tracks included on this album are a warm and winning rendition of Curtis Mayfield's "It's Alright" and a courageous soul arrangement of Bill Caddick's "John of Dreams," the music to which comes from a composition by Tchaikovsky. Few would have the guts to try such an approach, but it's a gamble that pays off handsomely. Other highlights include the house-inflected "Live a Little and Dance," and the moving "Fields of Athenrye."