Tir Na N'og

The Black Rose

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Tir na n'Og is a Long Island-based duo consisting of fiddler Liz Knowles and guitarist/citternist/mandolinist Colleen Donahue. On this self-produced CD they are accompanied at various times by a shifting ensemble of local players, who follow them through a sprawling and wonderful set of traditional jigs, reels and airs. Knowles fiddles with an elegant restraint that brings to mind the playing of Martin Hayes; Donahue favors twelve-string guitars, an unusual approach for Irish music and one which lends an extra depth to the duo's sound. The album opens with the achingly lovely "Rosin Dubh" (which Gaelicists will recognize as the title track), and proceeds at a stately but energetic pace through an impressive array of tunes, from such familiar fare as "Jack Broke da Prison Door" and "Whiskey Before Breakfast" to Donahue's lovely original "Man of Steel" (note to the band: consider performing this one live in a medley with a Celtic-style arrangement of "Iron Man"). You're going to wish you could get them to play at your party, and if you live on Long Island, maybe you can. (Tir na n'Og can be reached at (212) 475-8559. In New England, contact Ossian USA at 118 Beck Rd., Loudon NH 03301, or e-mail ossianusa@aol.com.)