‘Current Affairs’ from RUNA - something special(July 14, 2014)
The ebb and flow between Ireland and America has existed for years, time has blurred the boundaries and distance forged eternal links. This to-and-fro exchange of influence has built a style that lives and breathes the air of both nations with equal enthusiasm. The result of this interplay is seen through bands like RUNA – delivering an exhilarating amalgam sparked by their collective drawing of inspiration from deep seated roots and freedom to incorporate a rich variety of influences and experimentation. The music they draw from this well includes narratives from both sides of the pond, touches of Celtic catalyst and flashes of Americana inspiration. The meld that results makes ‘Current Affairs’ the new album from RUNA ‘one for your collection’.
The breadth of their trad/contemporary mix suffuses throughout, from the American labour song, ‘The Banks Are Made of Marble’, through the oft-interpreted and many-versioned ‘Wife Of Usher’s Well’ and ‘False Knight Upon The Road’ to the gospel-inspiration of ‘Ain’t No Grave’. They lay down evervescent energy applied over ingenuous dexterity through ‘The Hunter Set’ or ‘Land Of Sunshine Set’ or allow the soft empathy of their songs to slide away with ‘Aoidh, Na Dean Cadal Idir / A Chomaraigh Aoibhinn Ó’ and ‘Who Will Sing Me Lullabies’.
‘Current Affairs’ is ample evidence that the cultural mix, appreciation of heritage, inspired ability and blend of diverse influences that make up RUNA remain something special.
RUNA are Shannon Lambert-Ryan (vocals, bodhrán) Fionán de Barra (guitar, bass, vocals, bodhrán) Cheryl Prashker (percussion) Dave Curley (mandolin, banjo, vocals, bodhrán) and Maggie Estes White (fiddle, mandolin, vocals). Guest musicians on the album are Ron Block (banjo) Patrick D’Arcy (low whistle) Buddy Greene (harmonica) and Jeff Taylor (accordion).
Reviewer: Dan Holland