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Private Label TMCKT01

Luckpenny is the first duet album from piano accordionist Karen Tweed and her flute playing partner, Tom McElvogue. According to Karen: “We began thinking about the idea of recording together early in 2016. Initially using melodica and whistle, we then moved onto accordion and flute.” The resulting album is a collection of tunes, known and strange, all given a uniquely informal and enthusiastic treatment by two renowned exponents of traditional music in Ireland and beyond.

There is a deeper story behind the album however – at the time of recording, they were aware that a very good friend of theirs Paul Ruane had been diagnosed with a terminal illness. During the early part of the same year, Paul’s health deteriorated and he passed away in August of 2016. The album is dedicated to him. That said, it’s a lively and refreshing album filled with zestful performances.

The opening reel, Miss Thornton, skips into life quickly; the mix of accordion and flute coalescing beautifully, while Cuil Aodha (a slide and jig set) shows a great grasp of dynamics. The great names of Paddy Fahy, Andy McGann and Paddy O’Brien from the Irish tradition link in with the Scottish tune giant James Scott Skinner and Canadian Denis Lanctot in a powerful display of mixed traditions, approached with pride and respect. The music pulses with life and kinetic excitement, and proves that Karen Tweed and Tom McElvogue are at the top of their respective games.

John O’Regan

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This album was reviewed in Issue 123 of The Living Tradition magazine.