To make it in Celtic music these days, it seems that you either have to hew to a very strict traditional approach, like fiddler Martin Hayes and his group Altan, or opt for the Celt-funk fusion popularized by bands like Capercaillie and Mouth Music. But the quartet Anam has managed to work the middle ground. The group’s instrumentation (guitar, bouzouki, accordion, bodhran), although unusual in configuration, is entirely traditional, and its repertoire includes the standard sets of reels and jigs. But the group does tackle songs that are anything but the usual Celtic fare: “Kjetil’s Song” is a gorgeous, wistful rumination on life’s cyclical nature, featuring a soprano saxophone as well as Aimee Leonard’s lovely voice; “This Time” is a flat-out pop song, with drums and a chiming sing-along chorus that the Paperboys would have killed for. On the instrumental numbers, Neil Davey’s mandolin and bouzouki and Treasa Harkin’s accordion center the composition. Davey wrote several fine reels and jigs and two of the Cornish gavottes that make up the album’s more intriguing sets. Guitarist and singer Brian O hEadhra has a dark voice that acts as a perfect counterpoint to Leonard’s clear soprano on their duets. O hEadhra’s lyrics flirt with a wispy and cloying transcendentalism (“Wind blows through the tree of dreams and doubt/Leaves softly falling”), but he and Leonard deliver them with such easy confidence that you don’t notice it unless you read along. So don’t. Just sit back and enjoy. —Rick Anderson