Sliotar is hi-burn exuberance in modern Celtica, and a CD that'll leave many gasping. Ray MacCormac plays an extraordinary set of Uillean pipes and whistles backed by J.P. Kallio on an alternatingly delicate and fierce guitar while Des Gorevan mans the percussives in a difficult position of one-man rhythm section...and that's it, just three gents but, man, what a sound! MacCormac has an exhilarating high end constancy that's mindful of Paul McCandless (Oregon) and Sliotar demonstrates a wondrous marriage of old and new.
Nor is their hand at balladry inapt. Did You Miss Today? is engagingly positive despite the melancholy and longing. The winds, however, are the most enchanting and the vocalist gentle and persuasive while Kallio's beat in just a snare and kick drum flows into the measures like a soft heartbeat. Normandy Night is mindful of an indigo swallowtail flying through a summer's day despite the title, the gorgeous melody of the whistle urging earthbound bipeds to join in the ecstatic flight. Like a little over half the disc, it's an original tune, the rest being traditionals but so heartfully played that they sound as if written yesterday.
It's said that this group's true nature is best displayed in their live shows, but, laying an ear to The Drunken Landlady and its banshee swift flight of fancy, I'm not sure my heart could take that much lightning brilliance, so I may well have to avoid this ultra-talented trio if they make it to L.A. Once again, I'm really not all that nuts about Irish / Celtic / Gaelic musics despite my genetic background (Armstrong on my mother's side), but, sweet Saint Paddy, I'll have to be changing my tune awfully damned fast if I keep running across material like this.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2009, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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