Lichfield Arts is a small organisation that consistently punches above its weight, bringing critically-acclaimed, commercially successful bands and artists to play at the Guildhall – and this sold out concert by Irish music supergroup Lunasa continued this trend.
Lunasa, which translates as August, have been winning awards and playing well received gigs and producing albums since 1997, gathering fans from across the world, and from many other genres. The group play traditional music, but add new elements, so a looped double bass part, and a distorted violin part in one piece did not seem out of place.
The group’s frontman Kevin Crawford led on Flutes, and Whistles, and the melody parts were also complemented by Uileann Pipe and Whistle player Cillian Vallely, and deputising violinist Tola Casey.
The driving rhythms and sensitive supporting accompaniment were provided by double bass player Trevor Hutchinson, and Paul Meehan played guitar.
The concert’s set list was mostly taken from their newest album, La Nua, with lively upbeat instrumental jigs and reels mixing well with slow airs, and ballads. As well as versions of traditional Irish, Scottish, and Spanish music, the ensemble also played music they had written themselves, with the writing of both Kevin Crawford and Cillian Vallely being particularly well received.
The driving three part Doc Holliday’s and the far more brooding The Raven’s Rock written by Cillian Vallely were examples of fine writing, while Kevin Crawford’s touching ballad Absent Friends featured an affecting melody for whistles, pipes and violin, and a subtle counter-point from bass and guitar.
Three marches featured in Ryestraw while Pontevedra To Carcarosa was the group’s arrangement of traditional music from Brittany. Snowball was a lively piece for the whole band.
Solo features from the Uillean Pipes, as well as a piece for guitar and bass were also well played, by which time a lively encore was a foregone conclusion.