Andy Irvine

East Wind

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The title and the vaguely Oriental-looking cover of this CD might make you think that you're looking at an album of Asian jazz fusion. Fear not -- the East in this case is a lot further West, in the Balkans. Though many Celtic musicians have been interested by the exotic rhythms of Bulgarian and Macedonian music, this CD is one of the only instances in which the fusion sounds both natural and exciting. Davy Spillane's Irish pipes sound marvelous on parts originally written for the more shrill Balkan bagpipes, and his playing here is inventive and expressive enough to silence anyone who thinks of the pipes as a limited instrument. The decision to invite Marta Sebestyen as a guest vocalist was inspired; she is one of the great interpreters and innovators of Eastern European music, and she shines in this setting. The ensemble work throughout this album is stunning, making for dynamic performances of spirited and emotional material. Kudos to Andy Irvine for making these sessions happen, and to everyone concerned for making them sound so good. Highly recommended.

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