In the 1990s and early 20th century, Steve Schuch and the Night Heron Consort were among the artists doing their part to point instrumental Celtic music in exciting new directions. 1999's The Shores of Lillisand isn't for purists -- this is Celtic music, but it's music that incorporates elements of pop/rock and Scandinavian folk. "Chanter" is the only traditional Irish piece on the CD; most of the songs are by Schuch, who is heard on violin, viola, and acoustic guitar, among other instruments. Some listeners might see the title The Shores of Lillisand and assume that Lillisand is in Ireland, but it's actually a town in Norway -- and Schuch is well aware of the connection between Scandinavian and Celtic music. When Vikings who lived in what are now Norway and Sweden invaded the British Isles centuries ago, they brought their music with them. So when Schuch combines Celtic and Scandinavian elements, his experiments are perfectly logical. But while the songs (many of which are quite charming) always sound organic instead of forced, he's very much a risk-taker. The Shores of Lillisand is highly recommended to anyone who is seeking something challenging from instrumental Celtic music.
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AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson