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DORDAN - "Celtic Aire" - Narada VNDCD52

Dordan are an all-female group playing a mixture of traditional and early classical music. On this their fourth album, they produce a true fusion of these two genres: the result is a sweet, delicate sound which harks back to the ensemble music of the 19th century. The arrangements are wholly in keeping with the music: fiddle, harp, whistle and a touch of percussion, with occasional vocals, combine in simple but effective arrangements.

"Celtic Aire" opens with three reels from the pen of whistle-player Mary Bergin, tunes in the traditional Irish idiom but with a strong baroque flavour. Next is a Gigue by Handel, taken at waltz tempo, which could pass for a Carolan air. Track 3 features Mary again with three traditional reels, and an a capella Gaelic song completes a snapshot of Dordan's repertoire. The next three tracks constitute a short suite: two airs from harpist Kathleen Loughnane, and a Bergin slip jig, successfully evoking the warmth and play of summer.

The second half of this CD includes three more songs from Martina Goggin, two traditional and her own "Live Every Day" in praise of natural beauty. In between are the gentle Carolan composition "Sir Arthur Shaen", a Mozart melody masterfully arranged by Dordan, and a slow air by fiddler Dearbhaill Standun which is reminiscent of Gow or Scott Skinner.

Throughout the fifty minutes of this recording, the old and the new, classical and traditional are blended and interwoven with a rare skill and sensitivity. There is depth and understanding here which belies the title.

Alex Monaghan

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This album was reviewed in Issue 36 of The Living Tradition magazine.