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Mairearad and Anna
Shouty Records SHOUTYCD01

It’s always intriguing to watch the development of musicians who are new to the scene once they can throw off the shackles of that newness, and settle down to evolve their own style that can be appreciated for itself.  Not that I’m implying that Mairearad and Anna are old (that’s my job!), merely that they are now established as a duo with an identifiable and vibrant approach to their music, which combines a lightness of touch and dexterity of playing which is both engaging and compelling.

Mairearad plays accordion and pipes, and Anna guitar, fiddle, banjo and glockenspiel – a line-up which allows plenty of opportunity to show the depth of variety in their approach to their music.  Compare, for example, the bouncy banjo boisterousness of The Raffle set with the track that immediately follows it, Farmors Vals, which, like so many Swedish tunes, requires a slowed tempo that can challenge all but the most accomplished of fiddlers.

Much of the material on this CD is written by Mairearad and / or Anna, with a lot of the rest coming from their contemporary musicians.  This gives a very up-to-date feel to the music, with influences from jazz and swing which complement, rather than detract from, the traditional base.

The production, by M and A and Angus Lyon, is clean and crisp, allowing every note to be distinctly heard, which brings the listener back to reflect on the quality of musicianship on display.  This is an excellent recording all round.

Gordon Potter

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This album was reviewed in Issue 85 of The Living Tradition magazine.