How it’s New York: At Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall in New York City
How it’s Irish: Irish Trad Super Group Lúnasa and Irish Singer Karan Casey
On a windy New York Friday night there was nothing better than being enveloped in the fiery tunes pouring forth from Lúnasa on their 20th Anniversary tour at Carnegie’s Zankel Hall. Clearly chuffed to be playing this historic venue, they launched straight into a set of tunes driven by the “pied piper” Kevin Crawford on whistle.
The program was a delightful romp through their catalog including sets of tunes from Scotland, Galicia in Spain, Brittany and original compositions from piper Cillian Vallely written for his daughters. The crowd was clapping along throughout and Crawford kept the pace of the show lively and peppered with his hilarious repartee.
I am always excited to hear the ethereal and enlightening singing of Karan Casey, and she was brilliant right out of the gate, giving the opening of “16 Come Next Sunday” a slowed-down jazzy twist. I was particularly intrigued after reading her post on Facebook the day before about the song “The Kings Shilling” which you can read here: The King’s Shilling. There is a lot in this song that rings true to what we are experiencing with the strange political turns and twists of our new government in the US. She also gave a heartfelt rendition of a lilting lullaby called “Lovely Annie” that she wrote for her mother, as well as the Scottish song “Lady Mary Anne”, the Patty Griffin song “Mary” and the rollicking “Creggin White Hare”.
Joining them at the end of the show was local New York session staple Patrick Doocey on guitar who helped drive the last set into a fever pitched perfect ending to the night. It was a true treat to see this group of incredibly talented musicians, helping to keep the music of the tradition vibrant and fresh. The acoustics and layout of Zankel Hall were just the perfect venue for them and I hope that this will be the first of many steller shows they play there! Be sure to catch one of their shows down the road if you can: Lúnasa Tour Dates