Nollaig Casey: fiddle, viola, vocals
Sharon Shannon: accordion
Mairead Casey: fiddle
Arty McGlynn: guitars
Rod McVey: keyboards
Liam Bradley: percussion

Although having received classical training and performed with various Irish orchestras, Nollaig Casey was raised with traditional music around her and, in  recent years, has acquired a solid reputation as a player in the traditional style. She recorded two albums with husband and guitar wizard Arty McGlynn, the first of which, "Lead the Knave" (1989), was a success as much for its modern sounding arrangements (McGlynn picked tunes on a Fender Telecaster) as for its featuring of Casey's impressive technique and her gorgeous playing of slow airs in particular. Since, Casey has played for Riverdance and several RTE programs, as well as toured and recorded with Donal Lunny's Coolfin. This new recording, presented as Casey's first solo album, feels very much like the result of influences from those past projects, with their qualities as well as their drawbacks. Some tracks, for instance the tight fiddle and guitar duet on "Yellow Wattle" or the gorgeous air playing on "Clergy's Lamentation," sound as if they might have come from the "Lead the Knave" sessions, while numbers like the Galician "Jota" and the much overplayed "Music for a Found Harmonium" are as pan-Celtic as anything produced by the Donal Lunny and Sharon Shannon crowd. While the latter makes for a questionable finale--neither the fact that Casey and McGlynn were the ones who introduced it to other Irish musicians nor the markedly different arrangement they came up with rehabilitate the tune for me--it doesn't reflect the general tone of the album. Rather, one will be impressed much of the way by Casey's lovely playing and singing, as well as her gift for composition. Her air "Song of the Seven Streams" and her reel "The Sally Rod," performed with sister Mairead (better known as a harp player) on twin fiddle, are especially good.

Rating: *** 1/2

Price: $21.99                    
Our Catalogue 
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1. Jota da Maia
2. Song: Citi na gCumann (Kitty my Sweetheart)
3. Ye Clarges' Lamentation
4. Hornpipe & Reel: The Harp and Shamrock / The Silver Strand
5. Song: A Bhurcaigh Bhui o'n gCeim (de Burca the Fair)
6. The Last Lord of Beara
7. The Beehive
8. Song: A Spailpin a Riuin
9. Song of the Seven Streams
10. Jigs: The Yellow Wattle / Twins on a Swing
11. Reels: Two Sisters' Set (The Mountain Lark / The Banks of the Ilen / The Sally Rod)
12. Song: The Bonnie Blue Eyed Lassie
13. Music for a Found Harmonium