Lúnasa introduced a new rhythmic complexity and harmonic sophistication to traditional Irish music on their self-titled 1997 debut, which Compass Records is now reissuing for the first time in America. The trio of fiddler Sean Smyth, flautist Mike McGoldrick, and uilleann piper John McSherry supply the melody, and they negotiate the twists and turns of the intricate jigs and reels with a technical virtuosity and sense of joy that recalls the legendary Bothy Band. But as good as these three are, the heart and soul of the band is the rhythm section of bassist Trevor Hutchinson and guitarist Donogh Hennessy. Together they explore the subtle rhythmic variations and harmonic possibilities implied by the tunes. They don’t impose a new order on the old melodies, but instead bring out a richness that was always there. Although the recording quality is not quite up to the standards of their later releases, the addition of a bonus live track recorded in 1996 and the sheer exuberance of their playing make this an essential recording by one the most important Irish bands to emerge in the 1990s.

– Michael Simmons

  1. Eanair
  2. Feabhra
  3. Márta
  4. Aibreán
  5. Bealtaine
  6. Meitheamh
  7. Iúil
  8. Meán Fomhair
  9. Deireadh Fómhair
  10. Mí na Samhna
  11. Mí na Nollaig
  12. Jacky Molard’s / The Hunter’s Purse (bonus track)

Album Credits

Sean Smyth – Fiddle, Swanee (Slide Whistle)
Michael McGoldrick – Flute, Low Whistle
John McSherry – Low Whistle, Uillean Pipes
Donogh Hennessy – Guitar
Trevor Hutchinson – Double Bass, Mixing
Joe Chester – Mixing
Aiden Foley – Mastering
Earle Hitchner – Liner Notes
Naoimh Ingram – Cover Design
Griffin Norman – Repackaging

Produced & arranged by Lúnasa