How it’s New York: At the Highline Ballroom, NYC, Monday December 14, 2015
How it’s Irish: Irish Trad Super-group Lúnasa with singer Karan Casey
I love it when I get early Christmas presents!!! Last Monday was a whopper! Two of my Irish trad favorites on the same stage and they delivered a jovial blinder of a set of tunes and songs to delight an extremely eager New York crowd.
Front man and flute phenom Kevin Crawford, who has been living in New York over the past year, was like the host at a great gathering, floating about the audience, pre-show, and whipping up the anticipation in the crowd.
I was particularly excited to see Karan Casey, my all-time favorite traditional singer, and to hear the collaboration between these innovative musicians!
The evening was filled with Lúnasa‘s trademark jigs and reels flying from the nimble fiddling fingers of Colin Farrell and the deft pipework of Cillian Vallely. They brought a wealth of other styles from the traditional canon, with some original Breton dance tunes penned by Kevin Crawford and some tunes from French guitarist Gilles Le Bigot. There were jigs and slides a plenty from the likes of Leo Rowsome, Emer Mayock, and one of my favorites, The Stolen Purse by Kevin Burke and Patrick Street. The driving base of Trevor Hutchinson and the jazzy guitar of Ed Boyd provide a strong backbone with the whirlwind of Kevin Crawford‘s flute bobbing and weaving over everything.
On came Karan Casey with old and new. She featured some songs from her newly released CD Two More Hours, including a lovely song for her mum called Lovely Annie. From The Bothy Band a swinging rendition of 16 Come Next Sunday with Kevin Crawford on bodhran. Karan was in great voice, soaring and trilling along like the sweetest of birds and finishing with the song Lady Mary Ann from her Chasing the Sun album, showing off her incredible runs and ornamentation.
While I definitely missed the magic connection between Sean Smyth and Kevin Crawford, I was pleasantly surprised with the synthesis of Colin Farrell as the fiddle lead. They definitely still have the power and the precision that make them the leaders in the modern trad world and yet still have enough of the pure drop to satisfy the total traditionalists.
Still time to order a few of their cds online to stick under the Christmas tree:
Wishing you all a very Happy Holidays and may there be loads of wonderful tunes surrounding you during this season!