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THE ENNIS CEILI BAND "Traditional Dance Music from County Clare"
Wrath Records RRCD002

The title of this CD would appear at first glance to be a reviewer's delight - a one-line description of what to expect inside the cover. To an extent it's true - that's exactly what we get, but the somewhat pedestrian title just doesn't prepare you for all the whooping and hollering from the audience at the start of the first track.

And no wonder they're raising the roof, for this track was recorded live as the ECB won, for the second consecutive year, the Senior All Ireland Ceili Band competition. This is some task indeed, given the number and standard of entrants, so little wonder that their fans indulged in an opportunity to go wild. And with good reason too. The Ennis are one of the country's most respected bands, with a line-up of two flutes, three fiddles, concertina, accordion, banjo, drums and piano. This gives a definitely beefy sound, full of energy and flamboyance, both driving and compelling.

But there needs to be another element present in a really solid ceili band, and that is discipline and self-restraint where required. This is not as contradictory as it sounds, as the band needs to consider the dancers, and give them the direction needed. No problem here, as the two requirements are splendidly balanced to give an end product that just let's the music take over. As you might expect, reels, jigs, hornpipes and marches are the sets played, and this recording is a good blend of live and studio tracks, which allows even more variety to the atmosphere.

A set dancer's delight that will also be appreciated by a general audience.

Gordon Potter

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This album was reviewed in Issue 55 of The Living Tradition magazine.