There is a bit of irony in the fact that Armorica is flutist Nicole Rabata’s debut CD. Rabata, a member of the Colby music faculty, has steeped herself in Celtic music, composing and performing in Ireland and associating with gifted musicians in Europe, in the Canadian Maritimes, and in America, absorbing the tunes and traditions of the Celtic musical diaspora. Apparently Rabata had done everything in this musical genre except record her own CD. It’s long overdue.
This is a beguiling collection, alternately moody and bright, with Rabata’s lyrical flute telling stories both many generations old and recently composed. There are tunes that rose from the hills of Ireland’s west country, one inspired by Portland’s Back Cove, even a Swedish medieval dance. The players are top-notch and, like Rabata, inspired by the rolling reels and contemplative ballads. If this gathering happened because of Rabata, let’s hope it’s the first of many.