John Cronin And Daithí Kearney


Midleton Rare Claddagh Records***

If the intimacy of the session is what you’re after, then Midleton Rare just might sate your appetite, with its emphasis on the subtler aspects of Sliabh Luachra’s dance music. The pairing of box and banjo aren’t always as successful as theyare here, with John Cronin’s accordion tracing a straight-up route through a raft of vigorous polkas and slides, including Scart Slide and The Ballyvourney Polka.

Kearney’s banjo is a genteel force, approaching tunes with a pinprick sensitivity to their pace and shape. At times the graciousness of the duo’s playing belies the muscular dance origins of the tunes, but this serves the recorded music well and invites the listener to a repeat visit. Spare accompaniment on bodhrán, bouzouki, flute, pipes and fiddle enrich the palette. A clear- headed addition to the Sliabh Luachra canon, and a spur to many a session musician to commit their playing to posterity.