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DA FUSTRA "The Foaming Sea" Highlander Music HRMCD002

Da Fustra take their name from Norn, and it means "the rock in the foaming sea", and any band which was played around Shetland for nearly thirty years must indeed merit that title.

The current line-up is Peter Wood, accordion, Inga Wood, fiddle, Derek Hendry, piano, Cecil Hughson, bass and Douglas Johnstone, drums and here we have them recorded live at a dance in the Quarff Public Hall, where they are obviously totally at home with their music and their audience. Da Fustra produce a nice tight sound, not too heavy at the bottom end like some similar line-ups can be, and with a good feel for the rhythms.

As is now (thankfully) common practice, the CD notes list the tunes under the dance titles, so you all know what you should be trying to dance along with them. This recording also reflects the apparent popularity of the Boston Two-Step on Shetland (no, I haven't a clue why, other than it's a good-going dance!)

So here we have a variety of dances played by an experienced and enjoyable group, but I must express a personal reservation about the selection of tunes, in that I prefer this sort of band to select traditional or traditionally-influenced music throughout the set. I know that some people will accuse me of narrow-mindedness in this, but I just don't feel as comfortable with things like Those Magnificent Men In Their Flying Machines as I do with Wing Commander Donald MacKenzie's Reel, for example.

Apart from that, however, no complaints whatsoever about the musicianship and the audience on the night clearly had a great time, and that's surely what it's all about.

Gordon Potter

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This album was reviewed in Issue 27 of The Living Tradition magazine.