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DANU "All Things Considered" Shanachie 78049

The young seven-piece Irish sensations strike again with a cracker of a CD which also marks the finale of fiddler Jesse Smith. His replacement is Oisin MacAuley, and both feature on this release, allowing the listener to appreciate the skills of each of them. This is a band of many talents, however, playing no less than fifteen different instruments between them.

It's not just quantity that matters, of course, but we can relax on the quality side too. Danu combine outstanding technical ability with a light flair and a knack of layering the sound, allowing the instruments to build on each other and produce a whole that is considerably in excess of the sum of the parts. Superb production and engineering also ensure that each melody and harmony are clearly heard in themselves.

The fourteen tracks give us eight instrumental sets drawn from an extensive range. From the first note of The Garsun That Beat His Father to the end of The Maid Behind The Barrel there is as much excitement, drive and passion as you could hope for, all conveying the fact that these guys enjoy their music and relish playing it. And then there are the songs. Whether in English or Gaelic, Ciaran O Gealbhain sings in a light yet commanding style which is both emotive and stirring. In addition to songs as varied as Uncle Rat (a variant on The Frog's Wedding) and Idir Aird Mhor Is Eochaill, there is a rousing Easy And Free complete with Liam Clancy joining in.

I have seen this group live, and have many happy memories of that event, but it is true to say that this studio CD has the feel of a live recording, so palpable is the interaction between the players. Nice one, lads, and congratulations for including a good set of notes with all the song lyrics.

Gordon Potter

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This album was reviewed in Issue 48 of The Living Tradition magazine.