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CARA Long Distance Love

Long Distance Love

Artes Records  ARCD3044

Cara are a new name to me, though have been playing in various forms together since 2003.  This is their third studio recorded CD, and this release sees them become a truly multi-national Celtic band.  Gudrun Walther, Juergen Treys and Rolf Wagels, all from Germany, are joined by Jeana Leslie from Orkney and Ryan Murphy from Cork.

The CD is a balanced mix of songs and tunes, with Gudrun and Jeana sharing the vocal leads, and Ryan’s Uillean pipes along with Gudrun and Jeana’s fiddles being the mainstay for the tunes.  Juergen’s skill as an accompanist on guitars is evident: his backing is exciting and quite different at times, yet is unswervingly tasteful.  Rolf’s subtle bodhran completes the rhythmic backdrop (along with an occasional guest drumkit which is used to good effect).

This recording has a very big, modern feel, and yet it still very much has a traditional heart.  Sometimes it feels like they are dabbling in different genres: going from the slightly poppy Rain, to the slightly country Owensboro, interspersing these with some great trad tunes, and some more modern, funky, McGoldrick-esque tracks.  You never quite know how the arrangements are going to develop, but whatever they do, they do well, with an impeccable standard of musicianship and arrangement.

The Ardkeen Boat Song is a gem of a song, sung beautifully with a very emotive arrangement using the pipes.  And the closing track, The Loon And His Quine, is a beautiful pair of tunes from Jeana, again with haunting pipes, and lovely piano accompaniment.  If I had to be critical, I might say that sometimes the vocals were a bit on the polite side, but that really would be splitting hairs!

There is real life in this music.  It is well played, recorded nicely and produced to perfection, and it is really quite exciting to listen to.  Well worth a shot!

Fiona Heywood

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This album was reviewed in Issue 87 of The Living Tradition magazine.