Lunasa Rolls Out the Music, Despite a Small Problem Since its formation in 1997, Lunasa has cut an impressive swathe through Irish music. Inspired by the bands that modernized Irish folk in the 1970s, Lunasa has risen to become one of the Ireland's most lauded folk groups. But they recently faced a problem.
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Lunasa Rolls Out the Music, Despite a Small Problem

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Lunasa Rolls Out the Music, Despite a Small Problem

Review

Music

Lunasa Rolls Out the Music, Despite a Small Problem

Lunasa Rolls Out the Music, Despite a Small Problem

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Since its formation in 1997, Lunasa has cut an impressive swathe through Irish music. Inspired by the bands that modernized Irish folk in the 1970s, Lunasa has risen to become one of the Ireland's most lauded folk groups. But they recently faced a problem.

MICHELE NORRIS, Host:

Some choose to preserve their culture the way it is. Others innovate. Inspired by the bands who modernized Irish folk in the 1970's, Lunasa have won all manner of awards and risen to become one of Ireland's most lauded folk groups. But they recently faced a problem, as our reviewer Chris Nickson explains.

CHRIS NICKSON: When it came time to make that sixth album Se, instrumental band Lunasa faced a dilemma. Their long-time guitarist, the rhythmically propulsive Donald Hennessey had left. How could they replace him? The answer, for this recording at least, was to use two guitarists, one on soft and nylon string and the other playing twangy steel string. Together, they bring fresh voices, texture and energy to a band at a crossroads, as their duet work on Glentrasna shows.

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NICKSON: What really sets Lunasa apart is the remarkable way they mix wind and strings. It's something not so common in Irish music.

The flute and mournful uillean pipes interweave with gorgeous subtlety between fiddle and guitar to create an airy tapestry. The material, both original and traditional, becomes a springboard for explorations that go beyond folk, dipping toes into chamber music, jazz and beyond. There's an understated virtuosity and gentle curiosity to the sound as they show on this cut, The Dingle Berries.

Lunasa's trademarks have always been the subtle rhythmic segues between tunes and the way they ratchet up the intensity during each set of music. Se doesn't disappoint on either count. This isn't an album that treads water. If anything, the new blood spurs them to push harder than ever before. There's real passion in the performances. With Se, Lunasa has moved forward to happily open a new chapter in their career.

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NORRIS: The latest album from Lunasa is called Se. Our review is Chris Nickson. Happy St. Patrick's Day from ALL THINGS CONSIDERED.

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