Album Review - Niamh Dunne / Portraits

Niamh Dunne is best known for her work with the group Beoga. Over the last decade they have been at the forefront of traditional music with a number of highly regarded albums.  As a group they were not afraid to incorporate other genres’ into their music with a resultant jazz and bluesy feel giving it a "wonderful bouncy Irish sound" as they describe it themselves. As always, production values were high and for this release Beoga stalwart Seán Óg Graham is again responsible for production and mixing. Niamh has also brought on board an impressive array of other support musicians including Eamon Murray, Damien O' Kane, Cathal Hayden, Barry Kerr and Trevor Hutchinson. Another notable feature of the album is the fact that Niamh has brought her song selection back to the city of Limerick with a number of tracks sourced locally.

The opening Ballyneety's Walls tells of Limerick's victory during the Siege of Limerick in 1690 and the second track is called The Beauty of Limerick which is a song of "love and great yearning" about an Irish man many miles from his home. The guitar and accordion of Seán Óg underpins many of the tracks. Arrangements are exceptionally good giving a modern feel to some great song selections. In addition to the traditional songs she includes some that are more recent including the ever beautiful Shanagolden by Sean McCarthy and Strange Affair by the legendary Richard Thompson.  These sit very comfortably alongside the more traditional Irish material.  The arrangements never stretch Niamh's voice and she steers clear of the jigs and reels, keeping a clear focus on the job at hand.  This allows her to take the limelight as an artist with a true interpretative spirit and voice when it comes to traditional song.  Other songs include an Andy Irvine inspired Bonny Woodhall from the songbook of Sam Henry,  John Spillanes’s Éist do Bhéal and the more modern The Games People Play.  Overall it is an impressive debut album with some great songs that have been part of Niamh's repertoire over the years. The arrangements and accompaniment lift the material and give it a thoroughly modern feel. 

Listen and Buy : www.niamhdunne.com and on www.cdbaby.com/cd/niamhdunne

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