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The Merry Sisters of Fate

Lúnasa

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Album Review

Lúnasa has become one of the best and most exciting Celtic ensembles in the world by updating Irish tradition in a way more subtle than usual. Where other bands incorporate Asian or African percussion, synthesizers, and electric instruments, Lúnasa mostly relies on a different rhythmic approach while keeping the core instrumentation largely traditional (with the exception of string bassist Trevor Hutchinson). That said, there are a few electric guitars and other exotica (clarinet, lap steel, etc.) on The Merry Sisters of Fate — but they mostly provide little more than subtle shadings of texture. As usual, the sonic focus is on the outstanding fiddler Sean Smyth, flutist Kevin Crawford, and piper Cillian Vallelly; on barnburning rave-ups like the "Merry Sisters of Fate" reel set and the "Minor Bee" jig set, they fly through the tunes with joyful abandon, pushed along by Donogh Hennessey's percussive guitar and Hutchinson's thrumming bass. And on more restrained fare, such as the eerie "Killarney Boys of Pleasure," their multitracked parts combine to produce a dark and complex atmosphere. Highly recommended.

Biography

Genre: World

Years Active: '90s, '00s

The seeds of one of the most highly rated contemporary Irish bands were sown in 1996, when former Waterboy and Sharon Shannon bassist Trevor Hutchinson teamed up with guitarist Donogh Hennessy for a Scandinavian tour. From such tiny acorn beginnings have grown mighty oaks. Back home in Dublin, they drafted uillean piper John McSherry and flutist/piper Michael McGoldrick to record some shows, then hit the jackpot when they landed Kevin Crawford, also a member of Moving Cloud, whose flute and whistle...
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The Merry Sisters of Fate, Lúnasa
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