The American audience is not generally aware of London's importance in the development of Irish music over the last half-century, though it's taken for granted in Ireland. Pubs such as the Favorite in Finsbury Park or the White Hart on Fulham Broadway held regular sessions in the '60s and '70s that featured great Irish musicians, and when the revival took off, London-based youngsters like Kevin Burke were ready to make their own contributions.
The London Irish music scene remains vital, as Tracks Across the Deep demonstrates. Fiddlers Karen Ryan and Elaine Conwell seem to have absorbed something of every major Irish regional tradition -- from the octave doubling of County Kerry to the virtuosic embellishment of the Sligo masters -- while Maureen Linane's accordion work reflects the influence of the great Galway box-man Raymond Roland.
Flautist Dee Havlin and singer Kathleen O'Sullivan round out the excellent London Lasses, who are joined on this, their second release, by pianist Pete Quinn. High points include a barn dance composed by Donegal fiddler Danny Meehan that sounds almost like a Scottish strathspey, and a nicely paced reading of the set dance "Rodney's Glory." The program here is a well-considered balance of new and old. This and other hard-to-find Irish recordings can be ordered from Go.To/Copperplate
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