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It didn't take long for Lunasa to conquer the Celtic music scene, sealing the deal with a ton of strong notices for its self-titled debut Lunasa in 1997. Since then the band has established itself as a group of players' players who can roar through a winding jig or reel without bruising it. With the unobtrusive upright bass as the only tweaking of the tradition, the band sticks to such time-honored Celtic instruments as flute, whistle, bodhran, fiddle and acoustic guitar -- the lightning playing of flutist Kevin Crawford and violinist Sean Smyth stand out here. The band again draws upon traditional reels, for the most part, but "Ballogan" is a gentle and noteworthy original from Crawford. Other highlights are the giddy jig "Maids In The Kitchen," the melancholy "The Dimmers," and the flute-driven "Walrus." Recorded live before a small invited audience at the supposedly haunted Kinnitty Castle in Ireland, the only scary thing about the session is the top-flight musicianship. --Tad Hendrickson

The Kinnity Sessions

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