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Playing Around: Lunasa 

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Called the "hottest acoustic group on the planet" by the Irish Voice, the Irish quintet known as Lunasa takes a pit stop in Colorado this Thursday night. Since their formation in 1996, the group has gained a steady worldwide following. Their concerts are almost always sold out, usually due to word of mouth. With live performances that border on athletic feats, with music that's fueled by steady, bass-driven grooves, Lunasa is the ultimate jam band for Irish music lovers. These guys know how to take traditional tunes on a tangent, carefully molding them into different shapes, each musician playing off the other.

Not only has each member of Lunasa played with other notable Irish bands, but collectively, they've more talent between them than 500 hours of Thistle and Shamrock. Sean Smyth is an All-Ireland champion on both fiddle and whistle. Kevin Crawford is a multitalented musician, an expert in flute, whistle and bodhrn. Trevor Hutchinson (formerly with the Waterboys) drives the group's sound with his double stand-up bass and cello. Donough Hennessy is considered one of Ireland's top guitar players and Cillian Vallely pulls it all together with his talents on the uilleann pipes.

Their debut CD, Otherworld, was named 1999's album of the year in both Irish Echo and Irish Voice, and one of the top World Music CDs of 2000 by the New York Times. Their second CD is due out this summer.

If you truly love Irish music, then you'll truly love Lunasa. Even if you simply like Irish music, you'll still love Lunasa. They are one of the most innovative bands on the scene today, and their music is infectious.

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