SHARON SHANNON and THE RTE CONCERT ORCHESTRA – Flying Circus (CACD2415)

Following her own yellow brick road (judging by her choice of footwear) Sharon Shannon has chosen yet another…how shall we say ‘obscure’ bedfellow in utilising the services of the RTE Concert Orchestra. This possibly may not seem so odd if any of you have heard either of the two 1980’s James Last In Ireland recordings or Vladimir Cosma’s “Kidnapped” (my favourite record of all time!) where combining traditional instrumentation such as accordion with the lush sounds of a full orchestra projects the much maligned squeeze box to be the star attraction. Of course, in the hands of one as dextrous as Ms Shannon it goes without saying that she makes the recording come to life with sparkling arrangements wringing every last drop of ‘soul’ from those much used reeds. The passion and enjoyment of performing with such august company i s obvious and whether it’s the effervescent opening track “Top Dog Gaffo” or the sumptuous “April Magnolia” (composed by long time guitarist and collaborator Jim Murray) you cannot help but be impressed by a ‘folk’ musician conquering the ‘classical’ market without the likes of Bryn Terfel or Leslie Garrett to muck everything up. Now, if you don’t mind, I’m off to listen to Wallace & Gromit at the Proms!

PETE FYFE

Artist’s website: www.sharonshannon.com

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