Link to Living Tradition Homepage





SINÉAD HEALY - Shuffle The Deck

SINÉAD HEALY - Shuffle The Deck
Private Label SH001

A piano box player from County Mayo, pupil of Cherish The Ladies’ star Mirella Murray, Sinéad has brought out her debut album as a twenty-something, so not a precocious teenager but still a young lady with a bright career ahead of her. Comparable to Harriet Bartlett, Kirsty Johnson or Kathleen Boyle, another Cherish member, Sinéad plays mainly Irish material with touches of French, Scottish and even North American. Her style owes something to Sharon Shannon, Phil Cunningham, Karen Tweed perhaps: there's a swing and bounce to Cape Breton Reels and the aptly named Jump which puts this music just outside the straight Irish fare. Not that Sinéad Healy is beyond the pale: far from it. She follows in the footsteps of Begley & Cooney, North Cregg, The Long Notes and even Séan Smyth with her snappy rhythms. The Lúnasa sound is echoed in fast and slow pieces here: Lament For Oliver Goldsmith as well as Sinéad's own title tune. Essentially, this is modern Irish music, slightly eclectic, but continuing an established branch of the tradition. Ms Healy does this with skill, charm and obvious feeling for every piece she plays.

Michael's Mazurka is one of five slower tracks on Shuffle The Deck and illustrates the flowing graceful side of Sinéad's music. The arrangement here with harp, guitar, bass and maybe mandolin might be too syrupy for an entire album, but as a single track it provides a pleasing contrast to the jauntier numbers. Cutting A Slide is probably the most up-tempo track on this release, another eclectic choice combining three Phil Cunningham compositions. Sinéad Healy ends her very respectable first album with two more slow tracks, the lovely light Amy's Waltz (composed by David MacDonald from Jura) and a surprising finish which presents Sinéad as a singer on the old favourite The Parting Glass. It's difficult for anyone to do anything new with this song, to nail it or make it their own as modern parlance has it, but Sinéad's voice is strong and tuneful and I expect she'll build on the vocal side of her performance. It may struggle to catch up with her very promising accordion music though!

Alex Monaghan

Secure On-line mailorder service
Buy this CD online from The Listening Post
The Listening Post is the CD mailorder service of The Living Tradition magazine.
This album was reviewed in Issue 104 of The Living Tradition magazine.