Grey Larsen
& Paddy League,
Dark of the Moon
(Sleepy Creek, 2003)

Dark of the Moon is an astonishing album displaying the superb talent of Grey Larsen and his accompanist Paddy League. Larsen plays Irish flute, tin whistle, anglo concertina and harmonium; Paddy plays bodhran, guitar and anglo concertina.

Grey's skill on the Irish flute is predominant throughout the album, hardly surprising as this skilled musician also is the author of the definitive The Essential Guide to Irish Flute & Tin Whistle from Mel Bay. His passion and affinity with the flute is clearly displayed to advantage and listening pleasure on the 11 tracks of this CD.

The music is traditional or composed by Larsen and is mainly composed of jigs and reels, with a couple of schottisches and airs. Interestingly, tracks 7-9 are devoid of flute and whistle, featuring concertina, harmonium and guitar instead. The inclusion of "crooked" tunes -- ones that feature more (or more rarely, less) beats than the normal structure -- is interesting, and Larsen's theory that much of the older Irish music commonly was crooked and got "tamed" through the years (as other musical traditional and more modern influences altered the structure) makes the listener pause to consider the history of the music being played.

Larsen's CD cover notes give a brief history of the tunes and more information can be found at his website. The jigs and reels will set your fingers and feet tapping, and some of the introductions and the airs are exquisitely gentle, graceful and calming. A lovely blend of instruments and tempos, and a grand display of fine musicianship that will never be far from my CD player for long!

- Rambles
written by Jenny Ivor
published 8 May 2004

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