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There's something quite intellectual about Irish folk music, but Lunasa do something few neo-traditional bands do by underpinning the stark, boiling traditional sound with a bass/guitar rhythm section, courtesy of founders Trevor Hutchinson (of Waterboys and Sharon Shannon fame) and Donogh Hennessy (Sharon Shannon). The result warms up the music without diluting the head-spinning virtuosity that makes it so exciting in the first place. Their 1997 self-titled debut featured a mix of live and studio tracks, and it immediately drew a loud and prominent group of admirers. Green Linnet signed the group for an unprecedented three-album deal and in quick succession Lunasa released three stellar albums, including 2003's gorgeous Redwood, which was recorded in California and expresses some of that state's sunny warmth. Renowned for their live shows, which feature of mix of dizzying instrumental prowess and unstudied, self-deprecating humor, the group seems well on their way to joining inspirations like the Bothy Band in Ireland's folk pantheon.
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