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VARIOUS ARTISTS - The Leitrim Equation 3

VARIOUS ARTISTS - The Leitrim Equation 3
Private Label 

The Leitrim Equation 3 is the third edition of Leitrim County Council's flagship music development programme. Following residencies by Lúnasa and Dervish, musical legends Dónal Lunny, John Carty and Séamus Begley came together in Leitrim to immerse themselves in the richness of the music there. They played with a myriad of local musicians in schools, community groups, houses and music sessions, accumulating in a terrific and well attended gala concert on October 27th as part of the 15th Return To Camden Town festival.

Apart from the amazing musicianship of Dónal, John and Seamus, this album sports a stunning list of local musical heroes. I can't mention all their accomplishments to any kind of satisfaction, so I'll just mention some of the things that struck me most.

What I love about this album is the obvious and simple joy that springs out at the listener. Apart from the great musicianship, there is an aura of honesty in the recording that draws you in. Tunes like Sí Bheag Sí Mhor take me right back to my own beginnings in Irish music. I was reminded of Planxty by the arrangement and rendition of Kitty From Ballinamore even before I read Andy Irvine had suggested it. The lovely march Morgiana In Ireland by Pádraig McGovern made me want to try the uilleann pipes again – it is played here with a sweet, controlled, slow burning style.

The instrumental tracks are a great example of living, real music; no additives, just the music and lots of tunes I hadn't heard before - a great store of material to broaden anyone's repertoire, but most of all a great joy to listen to.

There are newly written tunes like Kilty House by Rachel McGovern (muscle accordion) and Drumderg by Alan Reid (super relaxed banjo). O'Carolan is there, as is the singing of Joe Connolly in his own pub, sounding like he's right in front of you. There is amazing, crystal clear fiddle playing by Lisa Ward on some tunes by Leitrim’s own Joe Liddy and straight up power flute playing by Tommy Guihen and, and, and…

I could go on for a while. Just get this album, alright? You might not know it yet, but you need it!

Annemarie de Bie

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This album was reviewed in Issue 100 of The Living Tradition magazine.