Lúnasa

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With a number of awards under their belt, an impressive string of albums, and a reputation as energetic live performers, it's little surprise that any new release by Lúnasa will be a highly anticipated one. The band's current lineup, double bassist Trevor Hutchinson, fiddler/whistle player Sean Smyth, flutist/whistle player Kevin Crawford, and pipe player Cillian Vallely, are joined by a number of guests for a lively set of traditional and traditional-sounding instrumentals on . The predominance of flutes and fiddles on pieces like the melancholy "Absent Friends" creates a lilting soundscape, allowing the listener to float along with the gentle mood. Other pieces, like "Loophead" and the opening "The Cullybacky Hop," are custom-made for kicking up one's heels. is so listenable in part because the fresh arrangements vitally fill but never overcrowd each piece. While the clear sound of each individual instrument is quite easy to separate on a quiet piece like "Glentrasna," the clarity of the production also shows up on the jaunty "Leckan Mor." It should also be noted, for those who may be unfamiliar with the band, that the members of Lúnasa are less concerned with showy solo work than with melding together as a supporting ensemble. For old fans or anyone looking for a worthy introduction to Lúnasa, will prove a pleasing release.

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