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Private Label PRCD002

Pádraig Rynne is an exceptional concertina player. Having won the All-Ireland five times, played with Guidewires, Sylvain Barou, Donal Lunny and many other Irish favourites, there is no doubting his pedigree as one of the best traditional concertina players to come from Ireland.

This is his second solo album, following 2004’s Bye A While which was more traditional in nature. This new recording sees Pádraig in a “transatlantic band that combines influences from Irish trad, pop, funk, electro and many more genres to create a melting pot for cool groovy music with plenty of rhythm.” Oh dear!

From the opening bars of Notify, you can tell that this is going to be a bit different. It has a promising start though - the concertina sits squarely up front, with percussion, synths and samples a bit further back in the mix. That doesn’t last however and before long the concertina begins to be a bit overwhelmed by the technical wizardry. Throughout the album this balance comes and goes, but the best bits are definitely where the concertina is given prominence.

All the tunes on the album are Pádraig’s own and, when you can hear them, you hear there are some great ones there. Remembering April, a tune written for his father who passed away, is a good tune, as are True Logic and 100 Kilo Case. The backing is definitely more nightclub than folk club. It may well be good music (I can’t tell) but it is far from the traditional.

Pádraig is clearly a brilliant musician, but the direction this CD takes him in is not for me. Go back to the jigs and reels Pádraig, that’s the stuff I want to hear.

Michael White

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This album was reviewed in Issue 101 of The Living Tradition magazine.