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RUNA - Current Affairs

RUNA - Current Affairs
Private Label RUNACD004

Award winning band, Runa, show on Current Affairs just why they are that. Top group at IMA, with Shannon Lambert-Ryan best female vocalist, as well as other nominations, they have come up with something which just oozes class and says “Press the repeat button!”

In addition to Shannon, the band comprises Fionan de Barra on guitar, Dave Curley on mandolin and banjo, fairly new recruit Maggie Estes White on fiddle and mandolin, with some wonderful imaginative percussion from Cheryl Prashker.

As you would imagine from a band hailing from Ireland, Canada and America, the music reveals a variety of influences but is all held together by their obvious love of things Celtic - as well as from their combined experiences ranging from playing in, or with, Clannad, Riverdance, Slide, Solas and Hazel O’Conner, to name just a few.

There’s a mixture of traditional familiar material such as The Wife Of Usher’s Well and The False Knight On The Road, self penned songs and tunes written in the traditional style, as well as covers. Of these, the inclusion of Kate Rusby’s Who Will Sing Me Lullabies was the most surprising, although I am not complaining as Runa have done it more than justice. The Last Trip Home, Davy Steele’s reminder of the inevitability of progress, is a real highlight to Current Affairs and a fitting climax to this CD which is Runa’s fourth in something like six years of existence.

The Ruthless Wife, written by Fionan and Shannon, tells the true story of her skeleton in the cupboard, but in a traditional style - a proper murder ballad!

Throughout, there are high spots - the fiddle on The Hunter Set; the percussion on Who Will Sing Me Lullabies; the twin vocals on Black River; as well as a set of tunes comprising both Irish Gaelic and Scots Gaelic to great effect – the list goes on.

Current Affairs is an accomplished work that seems to flow seamlessly from one track to another - obviously a lot of effort went into choosing the right material as well as the right guest musicians. Jeff Taylor provides some great accordion, whilst the harmonica and banjo of Buddy Greene and Ron Block respectively is used to good effect.

There is just one question - when can Runa be seen live over here? Surely a tour to promote Current Affairs is a must. I know I’d be there.

Dave Beeby

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This album was reviewed in Issue 104 of The Living Tradition magazine.