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JOE O'DONNELLíS SHKAYLA - Into The Becoming

JOE O'DONNELLíS SHKAYLA - Into The Becoming
Silvery Records SRCD060

There is no doubt that Joe O'Donnell is one of the finest violinists playing in the Celtic tradition. I am not going to list what is a very impressive CV stretching over more years than he probably wants to remember - or can! His main claim to fame was as a member of East Of Eden, famous for their hit Jig A Jig, but his talent has carried him through to this new release.

Here he is joined by his band, Shkayla, on what is a very competent offering, mixing many of the elements of Celtic music, noticeably Breton and Irish, whilst seamlessly fusing classical and jazz with what laughingly used to be called New Age!

The stand out track is a lengthy piece called Variation On Valencia Lament, dreamily entwining a variety of themes on a mixture of solo instruments and held together by Joe - a track which has been played repeatedly.

I can't say all the tracks work – I am not sure about the few with vocals - but I can say that the musicianship is something that I can appreciate. One thing that does puzzle me a bit though is why Joe is not more well known than he is as his live performances are well worth seeing - luckily he visits a festival local to me fairly frequently.

Dave Beeby

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This album was reviewed in Issue 98 of The Living Tradition magazine.