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Private Label DUO02

Sébastien Lagrange (accordion) and Gaël Rutkowski (uilleann pipes, French bagpipes and whistles) could not have immersed themselves more into European traditional music. Both have diverse, extensive musical experience. They've toured all over Europe, playing with loads of other musicians.

For this album they have enlisted some of their friends who will be familiar to many - Caoimhín Vallely (piano), Kieran O'Hare (uilleann pipes), Pat Broaders (bouzouki), Liz Knowles (fiddle), Ronan Pellen and François Breugnot (fiddle). The talent gathered on this album is remarkable, each musician audibly wonderful in their own right. The pieces are well chosen, their own tunes are gorgeous and the whole makes for a pleasant mix of French and Celtic trad with a bit of Cajun thrown in there too.

I love Laura's Tune and the Cork By Night set. I've always enjoyed a good bourrée and the ones here are lovely. (It's a very sexy dance by the way - you have to keep constant eye contact, it's engrossing.)

Overall this is a very cheerful album, well played, with lots of energy and it’s a great combination of music from the two cultures. You must dance while listening to it though. It's not for lounging on the sofa with your headphones on. It's full on fiddlidee!

But I have a thing or two to say about the mixing though. Turn up the bass on your stereo and fiddle around with the EQ. If there is low frequency, it's only coming from the basses of the accordion. I know from experience that these instruments all have deeper sound dimensions, but I'm not hearing them here. Switching audio devices will not help - it’s just mixed too flatly which is a shame as this music deserves better recording and mixing.

That said, I would love to hear these guys at Interceltique or any festival for that matter and have the whole album crew up on stage. You will dance, resistance is futile!

Annemarie de Bie

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