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This is a bewitching recording, gutsy pipes and rhythmic fiddle alternating with a sweeter tone on the fiddle/whistle tracks and the whistle duets. Mick O'Brien is a well-known Dublin piper, and Caoimhín is a young Dublin fiddler with piping aspirations. There are no great surprises on this CD, just grand old tunes lovingly played. Mick and Caoimhín have trawled through their LP treasuries to select a score and a half of precious tunes, and the sleeve notes provide a marvellous discography of Irish music from the twenties to the seventies.

The fifteen tracks here are mainly jigs and reels, with a few other forms sprinkled over the top. The jigs are particularly striking: tunes like The Frost Is All Over and Shandon Bells which are at once familiar and refreshing as Mick and Caoimhín extract their essences for us. Munster Buttermilk, The Sporting Pitchfork, and Na Ceannabhán Bhána: the names may not be new, but the treatment surely is. Caoimhín's fiddle blends uncannily with the pipes, fitting crans and gracenotes onto the fingerboard exactly where you'd expect them on a chanter. His use of the fiddle's lower octave is particularly effective, pitching the melody where the regulators usually are. I've rarely heard better pipe and fiddle duets.

One surprise is the inclusion of so many tunes from that magical area on the Cork/Kerry border. Slides and polkas aren't what we usually hear from Dublin musicians, but this pair make a fine fist of Rathawaun and The Hare in the Corn as well as several reels learnt from the playing of Denis Murphy. Mick uses his regulators sparingly, but when he does they lift the music to new heights: listen to The Rambling Pitchfork and you'll hear what I mean. There's some fancy piping on the Shetland reel Donald Blue too, a tune Mick and Caoimhín claim to have learnt from each other!

My favourites by a narrow margin are the two whistle duets, especially the version of The Fairy Dance. Mick and Caoimhín are completely in tune with each other throughout this album, and never more so than when they're both playing whistles. Whistle duets are a dangerous thing, and a true test of musicianship: these two work beautifully. Even if it only had this pair of tracks on it, Kitty Lie Over would be well worth the money.

Alex Monaghan

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This album was reviewed in Issue 55 of The Living Tradition magazine.