It feels like being away for long time and the fondness if overwhelming. I am talking about Ireland’s hottest export, Lúnasa. They have a new album out called Cas. And this is not just like any of their past albums. Here, the have guest vocalists and I will talk about it later(and why I am giddy). Let’s talk about their music first. They released their self-titled debut in 1997. I did not discover them until I got my hands on Otherworld which really changed they way I feel and look at traditional music. They are purists in terms of staying true to their musical heritage but they also love innovation.
Cas is na album driven by rhythm and texture. Each track is like sparkling wine-smooth and seasoned with age and experience. I suppose that after two decades of devoting their lives of the perfection of their craft, they can teach newbies how surf the winds of our ever-changing musical fads. But some fads come and go. Only the ones distilled with intelligence maintain their effervescence and thus remain precious.
It’s been seven years since their last studio album. And perhaps this is why Cas sounds so different. That time apart may have created the gestation process that resulted to a birth of .a new sound. I admire artists who have the patience of staying away from the musical spotlight in order to come up with something fresh. It takes a draconian kind of patience and control to achieve that. Sometimes it is our fear of being forgotten by the community that drives us to work tirelessly to maintain that following. But very few can take the challenges of art over ego.
So in this album we are blessed with guest voices: five vocal tracks from Natalie Merchant, Tim O’Brien, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Daoiri Farrell and Eric Bibb. I am familiar with the works of each of these artists, most notably that of Natalie Merchant. The album got its world premier via LiveIreland.
Cas is a joy to have. Lúnasa can still deliver tradition the way you love it, but they have added a new layer of musical approach, one that will take us to a new journey-and our lovely relationship with their music for years to come.