The Dunne Family consists of three well-known musicians from Limerick, the uilleann piper Mickey and his daughters, Brid and Niamh, who both play fiddle, while the latter also adds viola and vocals. However, it is worth noting that the three only appear together on four of the album’s fourteen tracks and there are key roles for their chosen accompanists, pianist Shane Greene and guitarist Seán Óg Graham. Harper Michelle Mulcahy also appears on a couple of cuts while the closing set of tunes, recorded live at Dolan’s Warehouse, Limerick, features the three family members as part of the ten-strong Suffering Duck Céilí Band.
Musically, Legacy is a hugely satisfying album, not least because of the variety it offers. So, for instance, the opening track features part of Charlie Lennon’s The Emigrant Suite, while the third track demonstrates all of Brid’s tonal skills on the air An Raibh Tu ar an gCarraig. Others include a composition by Handel (not ‘Handle’ as the notes suggest!), a beautiful solo rendition of the air Cath Ceim an Fhia from Mickey, plus plenty of jigs, hornpipes and reels and it’s pleasing to hear the odd slip jig cropping up as well.
Perhaps most impressive, however, is the consideration and excellent taste demonstrated by many of the arrangements on this album. The emphasis throughout is placed firmly on the tune itself and there is not the slightest attempt to hammer it into oblivion.
Like many an independent release, however, it’s the songs which form the weakest element. Niamh is a fine, if somewhat florid singer, but one who seems to have been influenced more by the world of rock rather than traditional music. Imagine, say, Eleanor McEvoy or Sinéad Lohan singing Green Grow the Laurels and you’ll probably get the picture. That song, of course, has been recorded rather a little too much of late while it is rather mistaken to release a rendition of Tommy Sands’s The County Down so soon after Muireann Nic Amhlaiobh’s stunning version on Danú’s The Road Less Travelled.
Nevertheless, Legacy is mostly a very rewarding experience, though might be topped by an album of solo piping from Mickey Dunne.
26th May, 2004
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