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NIALL AND CILLIAN VALLELY "Callan Bridge" Compass Records 7 4348 2

There's a lot of research carried out into the special relationships that can exist between siblings, especially with regard to the way in which they can appear to have an understanding of each others' thoughts. That's a debate that will take years to settle, but I would propose this CD as supportive evidence for anyone trying to make the case for the "innate understanding" school of thought.

Brothers Niall and Cillian are of the renowned Armagh Vallely family, and their parents, Brian and Eithne were founders of the Armagh Pipers' Club. Not surprising then, that Cillian became a piper and low whistle player. Niall on the other hand has the concertina as his instrument of choice. Due to immense touring commitments with other groups, the brothers do not play together all that much now, which makes this recording even more gobsmacking in its impact.

Literally from the very first notes of the opening The Reel of Rio / All Round the Room / The Merry Thatcher set there is an electrifying excitement about the way in which their playing matches each other note for note - and at a fair old rate of knots as well! I think the scientific term is "synchronicity", but when it's this good, you can call it what you like!

The two brothers are joined by younger brother Caoimhin on piano, plus Donal Clancy, guitar; John Doyle, guitar and bouzouki; and Paul Meehan, guitar, on a fine selection of tunes, recorded partly in Ireland and partly in Philadelphia - appropriately enough, the city of brotherly love. If there is ever a city of brotherly musical accompaniment, perhaps it should be called Vallelyville.

Gordon Potter

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This album was reviewed in Issue 51 of The Living Tradition magazine.