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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Review: Alesa Lajana - Celtic Gypsy

Alesa Lajana - Celtic Gypsy
2008, Australian Broadcasting Corporation

Alesa Lajana is a native of Southern Queensland, Australia; a musician with poise and maturity well beyond her years, Lajana has played alongside folks such as Scottish guitar wizard Tony McManus, Jeff Lang and Lucky Orleans. Lajana blends styles from Ireland, Scotland and Eastern Europe into her own musical patois that has garnered praise at both Australian and international folk festivals. The performer with the soaring voice makes the brave choice of going instrumental on her CD, Celtic Gyspy, a collection of primarily Irish and Scottish-influenced guitar pieces that display just how truly talented a musician Lajana is.

Celtic Gypsy is a musical experience for Celtic fans. Lajana strips down some amazing jigs and reels and illuminates them on classical guitar. Opening with a medley of Ceol Si, Banish Misfortune and The Twins, Lajana does more guitar gymnastics than you can shake a shillelagh at, turning in a virtuosic performance. Work Song features some pretty mean slide guitar work in a dark and roiling arrangement. Lajana goes for a more straightforward classical feel on Prelude From Cello Suite No. 1 in one of the highlights on the album, but my personal favorite is Autumn Child, one of the darker and more intriguing songs presented here. Make sure you listen all the way to the end of Breizh/The Seagull as well, as Lajana does some truly inspired guitar work here.

Alesa Lajana hits all the right notes on Celtic Gypsy. Economic arrangements, unusual musical choices and virtuosic play make this a real keeper. Be prepared to give Celtic Gypsy your full attention. It demands it.

Rating: 4 Stars (Out of 5)

You can learn more about Alesa Lajana at You can purchase a copy of Celtic Gypsy through

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