Traditional Irish Music
Seattle’s Finn MacGinty (vocals, acoustic guitar), Dale Russ (fiddle) and Hanz Araki (flutes, vocals) serve up a frothy mix of songs, waltzes, reels, jigs, a slide and an air. Steve Tilson’s “The Slip Jigs and Reels” opens with MacGinty trading verses with Araki on a Billy-the-Kid story of an Irish immigrant who turns gunfighter and meets his fate in Santa Fe. The group steps further out of tradition on a terrific rendition of “Albatross,” Susan McKeown’s poignant song of suffocating love, which is based on the imagery of the Coleridge poem “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.” Setanta explores emotion on two instrumentals—the happy jig “The Gold Ring,” with Araki’s flute shimmering, and the melancholic air “Rocking the Cradle,” with Russ’ fiddle delicately controlled, his use of harmony and slurs giving the tune a dark edge. It’s a fine debut from three of the West Coast’s best traditional musicians.