Lúnasa is one of Ireland’s most popular acoustic folk bands. RTE stands for Raidió Teilifís Éireann, Irish Radio and Television Concert Orchestra. Together they collaborate here on a group of tunes that represent the best qualities of Celtic music.
The music is divided into sets, with all but one (“The Last Pint”) including three or four tunes, some traditional and some contemporary.
Lúnasa has a reputation for acknowledging the Celtic influence on Ireland’s neighbors, and this is certainly true here. The first set consists of three tunes from Galicia and Asturias, which are in Spain. There are also some Scottish songs, and one set features songs from Breton. The entire CD fits together beautifully, with no number feeling out of place.
It is when the individual fiddles, pipes, and whistles soar and dance over the solid background of the orchestra that the music really comes alive. Celtic music is emotional. It expresses joy, playfulness, romance, and yearning in a way that speaks to human hearts everywhere, and that is what makes it so popular among so many people around the world.
This is music for dancing, eating, drinking, listening to while conversing in a pub, or for background music to your everyday activities. It is a true collaboration. There is no improvisation and no one musician stands out above the others. The musicians play together as vehicles to let the music have its voice.
The RTE Concert Orchestra, conducted by David Brophy, has played with artists as diverse as Pavarotti, Sinead O’Connor, and Jon Lord of Deep Purple, and proves its versatility here, playing with the five members of Lúnasa with plenty of power and yet not ever overwhelming the smaller group.
Lúnasa consists of Kevin Crawford on flute, Seán Smyth on fiddle and low whistles, Trevor Hutchinson on double bass, Cillian Vallely on uilleann pipes and low whistles, and Ed Boyd on guitar.
While for me, it is the pipes and whistles that give the music its real flavor, they cannot shine without the skillful excellence of the other musicians in both the orchestra and the group. And of course, for other listeners it may be the orchestra or fiddle or some other instrument that shines.
The important thing is that together, Lúnasa and The RTE Concert Orchestra have created an exceptional instrumental CD that skillfully combines classical and folk styles in music that you will want to listen to over and over and to share with your friends. It is highly recommended for any lover of Celtic instrumental music. `
As a bonus the CD includes a short video clip of the group and the orchestra playing together.