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Seamie O'Dowd and Kieran Quinn Seamie O'Dowd and Kieran Quinn
Album: Melodic Reflection
Label: Self Released
Tracks: 13

The whole notion of fusion music suggests a striving for accommodation, a bringing together of two or more musical traditions in an effort to forge something fresh and new from the constituent parts, something which , over time, will evolve into a musical entity with a language and context all of its own. So it is with this release, recorded in under a week by a duo whose collective mantra has to be "what boundaries"? Seamie cut his teeth on the fiddle as a very young man, and has since gone on to play with Dervish, The Unwanted, and New Road, and also The Mairtin O'Connor Trio. He has also played extensively with Christy Moore. Kieran Quinn was a Gaelic footballer of note prior to engaging fulltime with music.

The resultant agglomeration is a joy to listen to, each track different to the one which precedes or follows it. Original compositions comfortably take their place alongside material of traditional provenance, each one , in a live context , given a rivetting backstory. There is true magic afoot here, a genuinely shared experience of two forms-jazz and trad-becoming one. In the process, the baby has been thrown out with the bathwater, single note picking and full piano chords urging it on its way down the Garavogue River to the nearest blues delta, with a few diversions on the way. Over the past few days, this remarkable album has accompanied us all over Ireland from Sligo to Bessbrook to rural Galway, charming and bewitching us at every turn, repeated playing allowing us to find new notes, tunings and phrasings within its folds. Such is the uniform excellence of every track that it would be churlish to pick out a favourite, but I will say this much. It's going to take a really special album to dislodge this cracking piece of work from the top of my year's best list come next December. Stunning stuff.

Oliver P. Sweeney