Lá Nua

Lúnasa Records 001

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A new Lúnasa recording is a challenge for reviewers. One hears it, recognizes its brilliance from note one, but is left scrambling to find words that explain why. Maybe it’s Paul Meehan’s aggressive chording that sets the tone for brawny sets such as “Ryestraw.” Or is it the way Kevin Crawford’s whistles swoop and dive through Seán Smyth’s flowing fiddle passages? Maybe it’s Crawford laying down double time flute to open the “Fruitmarket Reels” as if it was the final stride of a sprint, but then quickens the pace and converts the set into a distance event. Then again, it might be Cillian Vallely using his Uilleann pipes to set a Breton mood on “Tro Breizh” and picking up the dancers’ feet on “Snowball.” Or is it Trevor Hutchinson laying down dreamy bass lines on “Unapproved Road” or taking a bold lead on the Spanish-flavored “Pontevedra to Carcarosa” set that builds an edifice that fiddle, pipes, and flute decorate? What is it about Lúnasa? The complex warp and weave of tunes, or the big finish? The breakneck reels or pastoral departures such as “The Raven’s Rock” and “Island Lake” that evoke pleasant vales and halcyon summer days? You figure it out; I’ll simply call the latest another ineffable masterpiece.

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