cd reviews

MARY & ANDREW MacNAMARA: OPEN HEARTH

Mary MacNamara: concertina

Andrew MacNamara: accordion

Those familiar with the subtle, sparsely decorated, and gently paced music of Tulla, Co. Clare, concertina player Mary MacNamara will find this recording very much in the same vein as her previous two solo albums. Although her brother Andrew's accordion playing can be quite different in style, i.e., complex in ornamentation and faster paced, here he matches Mary's style note for note, which results in a series of charming unaccompanied duets, just as one might hear played by the hearth with a roaring fire crackling in the background. The music consists mostly of some well-known tunes and standards of the Clare repertoire, though always played with a little twist that will keep the listener intrigued. My only complaint would be that this is a rather short CD, with 13 tracks all less than 3 minutes in duration. With music of this quality, one would easily listen to double that number. Sometimes, one just wishes for quality AND quantity...
Philippe Varlet Celtic Groove`imports

The Lahawns live at winkles
Lahawn music LM001
Painter J.B. Vallely, my own first cousin and indeed my mentor inmusic thirty five years ago,remarked recently
that the only revolutionary thing left to be done in Irish Art is to thatched cottages".
So too with Traditional music-sleek presentation,squeakless fiddles,wheezeless flutes,squawkless pipes,
Dettox studio sound,Popular music ethics and hype, all combine to sucha pitch of over-production these days
that it is a sheer relief tohear a mere ceili band.
Something to get the nerve-ends of thelower leg twitching. the Lahawns- called after a townland near
Tulla Co Clare-are Andrew Mac Namara (accordion), BredaSmyth(fiddle), Jimmy Higgins (piano ,snare) ,
 Kevin Hough(guitar),Jim Corry (piano) the style is easy-going ,the energyhigh.
Recorded vaguely live mostly at Winkles hotel in Kinvara.
This is not cynically structured 'set music for dancing to, nor is it suave studio synthetics- this is honest to
God session music, music for talking to, Humours of Tulla, the Skylark, Roaring Mary,
Sligo maid, The bird in the bush,solid tunes,a bit of banter, 'cahooing' both cool and gauche,
and, most wonderfully, the waltzes. No one else would have the nerve: Moon light in Mayo,
My Bonnie lies over the ocean, Lovely Leitrim.
Tight music with tremendous gusty piano-driving, heart skipping snare-tipping and
unashamed, pounding foot beat.
This is the kind of thing that scares the tokenism out of them in the White House and
Aras an Uachtarain-this is the stuff
FV Irish times 6-8-97.

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