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RUNA - Ten: The Errant Night 

RUNA - Ten: The Errant Night 
Private Label RUNACD006 

There is some tremendous Irish music and related sounds being made in North America at the moment (but then again there always was). Runa isn’t exactly one of the ‘new kids on the block’, indeed, the very title of this collection denotes a celebration of a decade together.

It's one thing to keep a band going for ten years, quite another to keep it sounding fresh and relevant. Runa achieves this with something to spare with their blend of Americana-influenced Irish folk. One of the ways in which they manage it is to get everyone to shuffle up and make room for some new blood every now and again. You get the impression that Runa never intended to be a static monolith, endlessly rehashing their back catalogue. The way they tell it, the philosophy is much more reminiscent of a relay race. Thus it is that Maggie and Zach White hand over the baton (or at least the fiddle and guitar) to the next generation.

They also pull off a neat side-step here by not only including a gang of guests, but also a category entitled Runa Alumni, or ex-members if you prefer. The headline names, among the guests at least, include the famed female fiddler, Eileen Ivers, and the equally celebrated voice of Moyà Brennan, both on Bright Morning Stars. Other highlights include a sumptuous The Lakes Of Pontchartrain, and two fine songs from the pen of David Francey - Saints And Sinners and Torn Screen Door.

The cast of contributors changes all the time but Runa will continue to be admired and respected primarily for their traditional music. An excellent version of The Green Fields Of Canada and a couple of storming dance tracks are a sufficient reminder of where their hearts lie. Here's to the next ten years.

Dave Hadfield


This review appeared in Issue 129 of The Living Tradition magazine