Ranagri – Fort of the Hare, an Album of Substance.

Nestled between the Wicklow Mountains and Co Carlow in Ireland lies a stunning area of lush farmland…a veritable Celtic rural idyll..This idyll is called Ranagri which in Gaelic means “Fort of the Hare”

So starts the “blurb” on the sleeve notes of this, the first album from new Celtic group, Ranagri and it alludes to an area where “the farmland is lush, cattle graze, small farm buildings lie crumbling and the perpetual pot of tea or slightly more perhaps lies waiting for the tired traveller or worker.”

So the big question with a write up like this is….is this modern day “paddy whackery” or do we have something of substance?

 The answer most resoundingly is the latter and in “Fort of the Hare” Ranagri very firmly lays their stall out musically. What you see is what you get and what you hear is possibly not what you expect.

The album opens with the moody and atmospheric “Cold Shallow” with flute and harp working well together and a lone voice cries out “’Cos you and me, we could be, forever one, And the clock sits on the wall and waves at us all” and you realise that actually this is no straight forward “verse chorus, verse chorus, middle eight and fade” type of band but actually a collection of musicians that really does exemplify the saying that the “whole exceeds the sum of the parts”.

As the band work their way through the more conventional “The Bogeyman” we reach the first of the albums two incredibly powerful instrumentals “Atlas” , this makes way for yet another incursion into introspection and reflection in “I wonder”.

With the lyrics of Donal Rogers you get introspection and reflection in equal measures touched sometime with an almost flirtation with “the dark side”. Stand out cuts lyrically are the aforementioned “Cold Shallow”and “I wonder” but also “Spooky International” and “Under discovered”

As you listen to yet one quality track after another the overriding impression you get constantly with “Fort of the Hare” is quality whether this is the performance of the musicians on the tracks, the quality of the production or the actual CD itself.

It matters not which it is, the end result is a damn fine album which would grace the record collection of anyone.

The musicality of Ranagri is beyond question with the likes of Donal Rogers on vocals/guitar/bass drum, Eliza Marshall on flute/bass flute/shakuhachi/bansouri/whistle and harmonium, Jean Kelly on harps/kantele/bowed psaltery and Tad Sargent on bodhran and bouzouki.

The album “Fort of the Hare” can be found on stockfisch records and is well worth it.

The band can be contacted for live work through Neil O’Brien Entertainment or directly though their Manager Sean Fitzgerald

Distributed by Strong Urge To Fly

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