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New Irish and Related Releases April 2001
(a particularly good month)

DECADE. Dervish. WHRL 006. It's ten years since Dervish became a professional group, and this album is a sampler of their recorded work during that period. There are 14 tracks from their five albums, and they break down to eight instrumental selections and six songs. A good introduction for those who are unfamiliar with their work.

IN GOOD COMPANY. Kevin Crawford. GLCD 1211. On Kevin's second album he follows the now well established Irish tradition of making a solo album with lots of other people. His collaborators here are of the very highest order - they include Frankie Gavin, Conor Tully, Tommy Peoples, Martin Hayes and others. A worthy successor to the 'D Flute' album, it's great music. Kevin is the flute player with Lúnasa.

THE WINDS BEGIN TO SING. Karan Casey. SHCD 78044. Interesting traditional songs some of which have been unsung for too long, but it's a totally untraditional style of singing, very different to a Rosie Stewart or a Maggie Murphy.

TIPPIN' AWAY. Damien Connolly & Pete Mancuso. DCPM1. Damien is the son of Martin and the nephew of Séamus. This is a superb album of accordion and melodeon music by a young master, accompanied by an unusually sympathetic guitarist. It's also a fine advertisement for his father's handmade instruments.

PADDY & BRIDGET & THEIR GREAT FRIENDS 2. Isao and Masako Moriyasu. PBCD 002. The Japanese players Paddy and Bridget, as they're known in Ireland, have yet again produced a lovely record, with friends such as Michael Tubridy, Tom Carey, Mary MacNamara, Tommy McMahon, Mary Custy, Martin Hayes and his father PJ Hayes and many more. Recorded in houses or locations with which the local musicians are familiar, it's unpretentious traditional music played in the style that was designed for it.

THE ROAD FROM BALLINAKILL. Mike & Mary Rafferty. MMR 112000. Further proof that you don't have to live in Ireland to play great Irish music. Again there is a total lack of pretension; this is beautiful East Galway music played for its original purpose, the entertainment and the aesthetic elevation of one's peers.

GAVIN WHELAN. Gavin Whelan. Tallaght 001. Gavin is one of the current young hotshots and has worked on this whistle album for over two years. It's very, very good, with assistance from Mick Broderick, Colm Murphy, Donncha Gough, Zoe Conway, Finbarr Naughton and others.

DOWN THE IVORY STAIRS. Padraic O'Reilly. RRCD 001. Some years ago a very young traditional group called Turas produced an excellent album and one of its more appealing features was the playing of the piano-driver. This was Padraic O'Reilly, and here he presents us with his own album, a mature work of near-genius. He is joined by, among others, the great young fiddle player Liam O'Connor. I think everyone needs to hear this.

CLARE WOMEN OF MUSIC AND SONG. Various artists. DRCD 004. Clare Haven House is a refuge for women at risk of violence, and this is a fund-raiser for it in the form of a recorded live concert. The musicians include Sharon Shannon, Geraldine Cotter, Mary MacNamara, Mary Custy, Liz and Yvonne Kane and more. As is usual on Irish recordings, 'Aura Lee' is sung (and printed) 'Nora Lee'.

25 YEARS OF CELTIC MUSIC. Various Artists. GLCD 110. A sampler of a quarter of a decade of music on Green Linnet, by people such as Altan, Kevin Burke, Martin Hayes and others.

RATTLING BANJOS. 50 IRISH BANJO TUNES. Gerry O'Connor & David McNevin. WM 1338. The tunes on this album were originally recorded to go along with a tutor book, but they stand up as performances, and remember, there's not all that much good banjo music out there.

FIDDLER'S FANCY. 50 IRISH FIDDLE TUNES. Tommy Peoples. WM 1341. Again, this was originally published in conjunction with a tutor, but anything by Tommy Peoples is worth owning.

THE KILLAVILLE SESSIONS. Ceoltóirí Coleman. CHC 006. A session by the musicians who play regularly at the Coleman Heritage Centre at Gurteen, County Sligo. The emphasis is on youth, and there are some remarkably good and mature players among them. Overall a very worthwhile recording.

ELLIS ISLAND. The Irish Tenors. MUM 9020. Showbiz special with three of John McCormack's successors - Gloccamorra, Macushla, The Rose of Tralee and Danny Boy are all there. Bound to sell millions.

And a book to finish. The Clarke Tin Whistle is a tutor by Bill Ochs, the well-known New York uilleann piper and teacher. There are instructions for players of all levels, tunes from England, Scotland, and early America, and historical notes. It includes a 74-minute CD.

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