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DA FUSTRA "Da Fustra Strikes Again" Highlander Music HRMCD004

Da Fustra's line up consists of accordion, fiddle, piano, bass guitar, and drums - a conventional Scottish dance band line-up and on this CD they play a selection of fourteen popular ceilidh dances plus a couple of non-dancing tracks.

This band plays for dancers (which is not something that all ceilidh bands do) - the rhythms - so important to dancers - are there, and there consistently, and the band's selection of tunes adds to the dancer's or listener's enjoyment. There is a good balance between old favourites and some new tunes. The selection shows an understandable bias towards Shetland tunes and composers, but it's also good to see relatively unknown writers like Grant Crawford being given a play.

One minor quibble is that in at least a couple of instances the length of the dances is just a bit short. The timing for The Britannia Two-step is one minute 52 seconds and unless things have changed drastically since my days in the Shetlands that would not be acceptable to dancers. For one reason or another, some folk dance to recorded sound and it is quite frustrating to find just as you have got going that the music stops and you have to play it again. The total playing time of the CD is just under fifty minutes so there was room to extend the length of some tracks if necessary.

That quibble apart, if you have to dance then this is a CD worth acquiring. It also makes enjoyable listening and the addition of the two non-dancing tracks adds to that enjoyment.

Bob Blair

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This album was reviewed in Issue 32 of The Living Tradition magazine.