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DANU 'Up in the Air' Shanachie SH78059

One of the many joys of reviewing the band Danu is that you can hide behind cliché and say that they produce a sound in which the total is more than the sum of the parts. Cliché or not, I always felt that, in Danu's case, the collective tonality enabled an extra dimension to be discerned as a hallmark of their overall sound.

So now what do they do, but bring out a release of solos assembled on this mighty CD. The immediate effect of hearing this deconstruction of the band is not to diminish the opinion of the collective, however. Oh no - this merely goes to show how outstanding each is in their own right. It is salutary that they have done this, in that it enhances their individual reputations, preventing them being treated as if they all had the surname Danu. So, here we have Benny McCarthy, accordeon; Tom Doorley, flute; Donal Clancy, guitar; Muireann NicAmhlaoibh, vocals and whistle; Donnchadh Gough, bodhran and uilleann pipes; Oisin McAuley, fiddle; and Eamonn Doorley, bouzouki strutting their individual stuff with a rare old collection of tunes and songs, all with a verve and freshness that fairly lifts the spirits.

I was a bit confused at first with the record company's insistence that this was not a follow-up Danu release, but I think I understand now that to do so would take away slightly from the excellence of their performances. Let's just put it this way - if they were all entrants for a competition, I'd love to be in the audience, but hate to be a judge!

Gordon Potter

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This album was reviewed in Issue 58 of The Living Tradition magazine.