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Sharon Shannon and Friends

Sharon ShannonVirtuoso accordionist, fiddler, and bandleader Sharon Shannon has walked a brave and personal path through traditional Irish music, inventively fusing it with reggae rhythms, rock backbeats, and the aching twang of American country and bluegrass. Previous collaborators have included dub pioneer Dennis Bovell, members of U2, Steve Earle, Jackson Browne, the Waterboys, and classical maverick Nigel Kennedy.

She continues to defy and redefine musical boundaries with her latest album, the stunningly diverse Libertango . A year's worth of touring and recording with Sinead O'Connor has lead Shannon to rediscover the role of female vocalists in her own music, resulting in several stirring encounters here. O'Connor guests on two traditional songs, while the much-missed Kirsty McColl delivers the title track, a tango by the great Argentine composer Astor Piazolla. New Sharon Shannon Band vocalist Pauline Scanlon shines on "All the Ways You Wander".

Instrumentally, Shannon draws from an ambitious and intriguing range of influences. While staying firmly grounded in the agile beauty of her traditional Irish and Scottish roots, Shannon embraces blues (on a haunting cover of Fleetwood Mac's timeless "Albatross"), Arabian, jazz, and Latin sources. Encompassing instrumental and vocal features, traditional and eclectic styles, and a wide range of virtuoso accompanists, Libertango is the definitive album from one of Irish music's most renowned performers.

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