The High Kings carry the nuances, feel and inner poetry of their home county of Ireland within their music. Their sound features a very special sense of nostalgia, yet it is vibrant and lively.

Few artists manage to successfully merge such a genuine and personal dimension to a very high technical standard of proficiency and expertise within the traditional folk genre: I often find that a song is a little bit like a scale. With instinct pulling on one side and musicianship on the other. When there's a significant bias on either side, there's something missing.

On the other hand, when the weight of instinct perfectly counterpoises the weight of the technical expertise of a skilled musician, something truly magical happens. Music becomes suave and transparent, a vehicle for history, moods and stories to spread out and reach more ears, minds and hearts.

On their latest album, "Friends for Life", the group of Finbarr Clancy, Darren Holden, Brian Dunphy and Martin Furey set out to achieve such a compromise. The fragility and intimacy of tracks the likes of their beautiful version of Canadian standard Peggy Gordon offsets the uplifting and convivial spirit of “Oh Maggie” or “McAlpine's fusiliers”.

This is a well executed, well produced and heartfelt album that will please Celtic music fans, as well as newcomers to the genre. Five Irish Stars from Celtic Radio!