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CD reviews: The London Lasses and Pete Quinn, By Night & By Day; and Robert Sarazin Blake, A long Series of Memorable Nights Forgotten: The Belfast Sessions

The London Lasses and Pete Quinn
By Night & By Day
[Lola 005 (2010)]

This, the fourth recording by The London Lasses and Pete Quinn, is a celebration of the group’s 10th anniversary. There are two new members since the last recording, flutist Elma McElligot and harpist/vocalist Brona McVittie joining fiddlers Karen Ryan and Elaine Conwell, accordionist Maureen Linane, and pianist Pete Quinn. The harp is a new addition to the group’s sound, and adds a bright, contrasting note to the instrumentation. The repertoire is a varied as ever, a lively mix of jigs, reels, polkas, and the like, learned from sessions and from noted players like Charlie Lennon, Liz Carroll, and Matt Molloy. The four vocal tracks, three sung in Gaelic, are slower paced and demonstrate what a fine singer and harpist McVittie is. The level of musicianship in the group has always been impressive, and remains so on this recording. [www.londonlasses.net]

—Jim Lee (Simi Valley, CA)

Robert Sarazin Blake
A long Series of Memorable Nights Forgotten: The Belfast Sessions
[Same Room Records (2011)]

It’s a short recording, just eight songs and 28 minutes of music, recorded over the course of two days during a trip to Ireland in 2009, but there’s something strangely appealing about this blend of American songwriting and traditional Irish music. Robert Sarazin Blake’s songs are very personal, words flow out of him, sketching his feelings and impressions of his Irish trip. In doing so, He captures some of the raw energy that Irish singers like Christy Moore are known for. Blake is joined by John McSherry on Uilleann pipes and whistle, McSherry’s sister Tina on backing vocals, and Francis Mcllduff on bodhran, and the spontaneous nature of the sessions capture the spirit of the songs perfectly. [www.sarazinblake.com]

—Jim Lee (Simi Valley, CA)


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