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TABACHE "Are You Willing?" KRL CDLDL1244

This is a cracker of a CD by a young duo that I haven't come across before - and more's the pity. Tabache are Aidan O'Rourke from Seil Island on fiddle and Claire Mann from Westerhope in Newcastle on fiddle, flute and whistle and on this outing they are supported by Tony McManus on guitars and Stevie Lawrence on percussion.

Between them, Aidan and Claire have taken events such as Glenfiddich Fiddle Championships and All-Ireland finals in their stride, and on this recording it's easy to understand why. Right from the very first notes of the opening "Obsessive Island" set, which mixes Claire's own tunes with traditional airs, there is a tightness about this playing which would normally indicate players who have been performing together for a very long time indeed. This musical understanding combines with a great feeling for the tunes. Nor should we overlook Claire's singing. Her slightly husky voice adds timbre to well-crafted versions of songs as diverse as "Lily of the West" and "The Knight on the Road".

This is a debut album to be proud of and I think this duo will be one to watch out for in the future - if they're this good now, where will it end?

As I said, a cracker.

Gordon Potter

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This album was reviewed in Issue 19 of The Living Tradition magazine.