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CYTHARA "Cythara" KRL CDLDL1245

Often, when I hear two instruments which are seldom played together I cringe (probably realising the reason why - but too late). Sometimes just the thought of the two playing together is enough to make me reach for the sick bag. Harp and hammer dulcimer though sounded interesting. As it turns out this album is a delight. Nice choice of material, well produced but not 'over'-produced, and the two musicians obviously competent (and displaying more than a touch of chemistry). Admittedly it may prove a bit too 'plinky plonky' for some tastes. Also some of the tunes have been done to death in recent years - such as Pachelbel's Canon and Planxty Irwin (sadly this album was recorded five years ago). But hell it's folk anyway - who said everything had to have novelty to succeed (mind you harp with hammer dulcimer is enough novelty for most people anyway). Oh! by the way - it's a brill version of "Pacelbel's" anyway so there! The CD jacket is not very informative but by the time all the instruments were described and a name or two dropped they probably assumed that that was all Joe Public needed to know. If you like gentle Trad/Carolan tunes this will probably appeal. The heavy-metal brand of folk listener will be bored by Track 3 and the CD jacket-reading anoraks will complain about the presentation. Me? I'm off for a stiff drink and some Prozac - pass that Bill Bragg single.

Grem Devlin

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This album was reviewed in Issue 22 of The Living Tradition magazine.