Sharon Shannon


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Part of Sharon Shannon's appeal -- besides her huge ability on both accordion and fiddle -- is her willingness to ignore musical boundaries and color outside the liens, as she's shown on previous albums. With Libertango she does that, but this time the results aren't as successful as they've been in the past. The opener, "The Whitestrand Sling," mixes her playing with a Latin brass section in a combination that works surprisingly well, then she goes and ruins the moment with a dour take on the Fleetwood Mac chestnut "Albatross" that never makes it off the ground. Sinéad O'Connor sings on a couple of cuts, and a vocal from the late Kirsty MacColl graces a superb version of Astor Piazzolla's title cut (which originally saw the light of day in 1996). Perhaps the strangest, and certainly most intriguing, cut is "An Phailistin" featuring Roisin Elsafty, a Gaelic language piece about the suffering of the Palestinians. Heartfelt as it is, the happy instrumental accompaniment is strikingly at odds with the subject. Then the closer, "What You Make It (Dad Da Da Da)" brings in rapper Marvel; nice idea, and it works better than it should. So, ultimately, a hit-and-miss grab bag from Shannon. But she can never be accused of complacency, and for every experiment that doesn't work, there's one that does.

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