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VARIOUS ARTISTS "Cumar" Cló Iar-Chonnachta CICD141

"Cumar" is a week of indigenous Irish arts for young people, held annually in Connemara, but not exclusively for locals. This CD is a sample from three concerts at last year's event, and proves that the traditions are in safe hands amongst those who took part. As is usual with CIC, content, balance, and presentation are excellent. Six songs are interwoven with the dance music. Sleeve notes in Irish and English are concise but comprehensive. I only wish CIC had included prose translations, as well as the words of the songs for those of us whose Irish is not as good as it ought to be. But that's my problem; I'll just need to work harder at it.

Reels, jigs, hornpipes, slow airs, fine sean nos singing; what more could you want? Unusually for Connemara, there are only two accordion tracks, most of the others being fiddle or flute. I found it really difficult to pick outstanding tracks, because the standard is so uniformly good. However, 'An Buachaillín Bán' and 'An Cailín Rúa', a fine combination of slow air and reel on the flute of Neansaí Ní Choisdealbha, stayed in my mind long after the record finished. Sarah-Jane Woods' jig set also made me sit up; she gets a really big sound from her flute.

All in all, not so much a sample as an example of what a local community can do to foster the traditional local arts. I'll keep coming back to this one.

Mick Furey

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This album was reviewed in Issue 40 of The Living Tradition magazine.