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Private Label SSSCD200

This album’s title refers to the deep pool of traditional music from the neighbouring counties of Down (where fiddler Seamus was born into a five-generations-back fiddling family!), Armagh and Louth. (This is in contrast to Seamus’s first solo fiddle album, 2015’s Across Bridges, which acknowledged bridges to other traditions.) Aside from The Flower Of Magherally, all the tunes and versions Seamus plays on A Deep Pool are virtually unknown, many even being recorded here for the first time; their compositional history spans from the 18th century right through to the present day. And as far as form goes, jigs and reels are complemented by mazurkas, flings, barn dances and figure dances, some airs and a polka, thus ensuring plenty of variety for the listener, and the disc’s sequencing is both natural and well imagined, while Seamus’s expert booklet notes are readable and helpfully erudite.

Although Seamus’s own playing is wonderfully spirited, it’s also melodic and convivially relaxed, enabling the listener to savour the special nuances of his style; happily, there’s no rushing for the finishing-line. Yet there’s also magic afoot when he’s accompanied on piano by South Armagh’s Josephine Keegan for three tracks (including a sprightly medley of their own compositions), or joined by all three of his fiddle-playing daughters - Clare, Tiarna and Lainey - on the mazurkas, or just Clare on two further sets. But the timbre of the naked fiddle is spellbinding in Seamus’s own hands alone, so go immerse yourself in A Deep Pool for 58 glorious minutes!

David Kidman

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This album was reviewed in Issue 125 of The Living Tradition magazine.