Suaimhneas, Cló Iar-Chonnacht ***
Seed, breed and generation are writ large across every tune and set of this finely calibrated album. Multi-instrumentalist Michelle Mulcahy has chosen to focus on the harp for this, her solo debut, having already stilled listeners by her playing of fiddle, concertina, piano and accordion in the company of her sister, Louise, and father, Mick, on previous albums. As its name suggests (it means “serenity”), this thoughtful collection reflects the subtlety of much of our traditional music. It’s a welcome antidote to the high-octane approach favoured by many bands. Stitched into its core is Mulcahy’s forensic knowledge of, and feel for the music she’s heard and played for decades. Her reading of Micho’s Mason’s Apron (borrowed from the late whistle player Micho Russell) is a joy: reflective and spacious, and utterly in harmony with the filigree lines of the tune. The slow air An Bhuaitais reveals a musician in thrall to the music: a more alluring trait than all the trickery a mixing desk can muster.