Seamus Tansey

Easter Snow: Irish Traditional Flute Music

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Seamus Tansey is a flutist from County Sligo who manages something that you'd think would be impossible: he plays in a strict traditional style, complete with the dark, woody tone favored by Irish players, and yet conveys such a sense of bright, sparkling lightness that it's hard to listen to him without smiling. It had been many years since Tansey had made a recording, but he was cajoled back into the studio by producer Robin Morton, who also enlisted the help of Scottish fiddler John McCusker (heard here on keyboards and cittern), guitarist Tony McManus and the acclaimed harpist Alison Kinnaird. The result is a wonderful collection of traditional tunes, all played with authority and panache by Tansey and crew. Particular highlights include the title track, a slow air on which Tansey is accompanied by Kinnaird on the wire-strung harp, and "The Battering Ram," a grim jig composed in memory of the instrument used by landlords to evict their starving tenants during the famine of 1847. There are flashier flutists in the world of trad Irish music, but Tansey plays with a class and concentration that set him apart from the rest. This one is worth seeking out.

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