Niall & Cillian Vallely,
Callan Bridge
(Compass, 2002)

Callan Bridge is a great, blood-pulsing CD to get you out of the winter blues and get your feet moving in time to timeless music. With a basic configuration of concertina and uillean pipes, Niall and Cillian Vallely are guaranteed to bring alive any latent Celtic soul that lies within you.

From the opening track, "Rio," where they are joined by some excellent guitar-playing, right through to "Miss McDonald's" with the same instrumental line-up, this CD is a joy to hear.

Reels, jigs and marches are performed with an accomplishment that betrays a heartfelt love of the music that they play. We often hear of Celtic soul, and this CD gives us a duo with an abundance of that ingredient.

Cillian takes a pipe solo with a guitar backing on "An Buachaill Caol Dubh," and he makes the instruments sing. Not to be outdone, Niall's concertina is brought to the fore on "An Buachaill Ban." Interestingly the former title refers to a dark-haired boy and the latter to a fair-haired boy.

The CD is an interesting mixture of self-composed and older tunes that work very well together.

This is a CD that will be snapped up by the serious musicians who enjoy hearing experts at play and who are interested in adding to their own store of tunes. But you should not leave it to the dedicated listeners. Callan Bridge will reward the efforts of anyone wishing to hear good Irish music played to perfection.

- Rambles
written by Nicky Rossiter
published 6 April 2003

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