Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Lúnasa - Lúnasa

One of the most amazing trips I ever did occurred in the summer of 1998. For a full month I hiked around Ireland and I lived a dream. Ever since I got hooked on Thin Lizzy as a wee lad, all things Ireland have interested me especially the Celtic mythology, Irish history, Irish music, both rock and folk, and... of course, as I got older, Guinness! So when I was able to commence on this journey of a lifetime there was no stopping me. After a couple of weeks on the road I ended up in the beautiful city of Galway on the Irish west coast. Brimming with music and arts I was in heaven and it was here I was first exposed to an amazing instrumental folk music group called Lúnasa.

I found their self-titled debut album in a record store but since I had no means to play it until I got back to Sweden, the cd remained "forgotten" in my backpack for awhile. But once I actually played it all the memories of the trip came flooding back with full force and knocked me breathless. All the amazing sights I saw and all the wonderful people I met were so vivid, it felt like I was back there. And it still does every time I play Lúnasa's music sixteen years later.

The band took their name from Lughnasadh, which is an ancient harvest festival and Lúnasa actually means August. In fact all songs on this album are named after the months in the Irish calendar but for some reason August was excluded. Utilizing fiddle, whistle, flute, double bass, uileann pipes and acoustic guitar, the band expertly takes me on a year-long endeavour through the cold and harsh times of winter, to the awakening of life in spring and the joyous times of summer before winding down as autumn comes to prepare me for hibernation.

Despite being an instrumental group, or actually because being an instrumental group, Lúnasa tell tales and project images where using words would fail. Instead, closing my eyes a whole new world opens up for me as the magical tones emanating from the speakers sweep me away. So it's no wonder Lúnasa is the go-to album for me when I need to relax, be picked up and invirogated or let the world around me disappear for a while. It's an escape and wonderful at that.

I can't stress how much this album, and the band, means to me on so many levels but I will say this. If you are curious on Irish folk music, proper Irish folk music, look no further. You couldn't find a better introduction anywhere.

- Swedebeast

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