Cythara

Cythara

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AllMusic Review by

About as pretty a debut recording as any folk group ever came up with. Some of the material here will sound familiar, despite being cast in unfamiliar forms, such as "Scarborough Fair" (which couldn't possibly sound less like the Simon & Garfunkel version) and, most beautiful of all, "Star of County Down," a variant of the old folk song "Dives and Lazarus" (or "The Unquiet Grave"), immortalized by Ralph Vaughan Williams. Other tracks (e.g., "Brittany") have an unearthly, ethereal quality to modern ears. The music never veers anywhere near new age emptiness, however, instead taking on elements of jauntiness ("Chanter"), ravishing lyricism ("Carolan's Concerto"), and baroque elegance (Canon by Johannes Pachelbel). The arrangements are clean and crisp and make amazingly little use of any artificial recording tricks, despite the obvious temptations to do so. Fans of Derek Bell or Alan Stivell will love this recording.

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