Sharon Shannon – Libertango




Having spent most of 2002 recording and touring with Sinead O’Connor, Shannon’s new album Libertango finds her rediscovering the role of the female voice in her music, while continuing to feature her remarkable touring band. Sinead O’Connor contributes two songs, one an ancient Irish religious chant, the other a beautiful version of Scottish folk song “Anachie Gordon.” The late Kirsty MacColl contributes a cover of Astor Piazolla’s “Libertango,” while the traditional “All the Ways You Wander” gets a stunning performance from current Sharon Shannon Band vocalist Pauline Scanlon. Libertango also features traditional Irish singer Roisin Elsafty, who comes from a Connemara/Egyptian family and sings an original song written by her mother Treasa and Donal Lunny in Gaelic and Arabic, “An Phailistin”(“Palestine”).

The diverse instrumental material on Libertango includes original material by Sharon, Irish and Scottish reels and jigs, the Latin flavoured “Whitestrand Sling,” and even a haunting cover of Fleetwood Mac’s instrumental hit “Albatross.” Shannon’s trademark accordion work continues to dazzle with its nimble precision, and is complimented by a wealth of musicians including longtime collaborator and legendary producer Donal Lunny, drummer and producer John Reynolds (Sinead O’Connor, The Indigo Girls), old Waterboys soul mates Steve Wickham (fiddle) and Trevor Hutchinson (double bass, now with Irish instrumental powerhouse Lunasa), and jazz saxophonist Richie Buckley (best known for his work with Van Morrison).

Taken as a whole, Libertango is a perfect encapsulation of Shannon’s gifts, simultaneously extolling her virtues in instrumental, vocal, traditional, and contemporary contexts.