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KODA "Tight Squeeze" SHIEL CD OI7

I know you shouldn't but let's start with the apology. I played this to death when it first appeared, then due to the impending arrival of Christmas - not to mention a visit to our school by those nice people from OFSTED - it got lost in the CD collection. The two events above came and went fairly painlessly !!!! and TLT 50 dropped through the door with a review of Emily Smith's CD sending messages to a post New Year brain reminding me of Koda's excellent "Tight Squeeze" CD. But why I hear you ask - read on and all will be revealed...

Koda are a bunch of much too young musicians some of whom were, or are, students of teacher Keith Dickson. His musical pedigree is pretty impressive having performed with several bands, including the rather dubiously titled "Dukebox Showband", but now spends most of his time passing on his expertise to the young. Knowing a good thng when he sees it, he got some of them together, under his musical directorship, and formed Koda.

"Tight Squeeze" is the second album credited to Koda but may be the first by this line up. There are eight accordion players, guitars, bagpipes, whistles, keyboards and a variety of percussion and, I am sure, all are playing at once to give an amazing sound, especially with the volume turned up. Amongst the traditional tunes like "Gravel Walk" and "Banks of the Allan" are some penned by Keith, of which I especially like "Tune for Caitlin" and the title track.

So far I've not mentioned the four songs, two traditional, two written jointly by Keith and presumably by , yes you've guessed it, Emily Smith. She proves to have a smashing voice especially on "Stay" and it is not difficult to see how she was chosen as winner of the 2002 BBC Radio Scotland Young Musician of the Year, and I don't think it will be long before her album is in my collection.

It would be wrong to finish here as it is the amazing overall sound which is impressive, making "Tight Squeeze" different from many CDs, and this is most noticeable on the tune set. The album title is just right as it must have been difficult to fit all these in one studio, and for the amazingly tight playing evident throughout even though these young folk do sound as if they are having fun whilst doing something well.

A really enjoyable listen... it's back in the CD player on repeat again... Christmas and Ofsted seem but a memory. Highly recommended

Dave Beeby

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This album was reviewed in Issue 51 of The Living Tradition magazine.