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DERVISH - Harmony Hill WHRL001

I first saw Dervish live at this years Girvan Folk Festival and was impressed by this six piece band from Ireland.

Their debut C.D. "Harmony Hill" is just as impressive if not more so. This is a very well produced C.D. with a varied selection of traditional songs an sets of tunes combining first class musicianship with the excellent vocal talents of Cathy Jordan.

For me the songs are the backbone of this recording, both in their selection and in their intricate but uncluttered arrangements in particular between mandola/mandolin and bouzouki, where the playing is precise and rhythmical. Its hard to single out songs for special mention, as I like them all. However perhaps two of my favourites are:- 'The Ploughman' a Burns song originally arranged by Hadyn, with the instruments here reminiscent of the accompanying talents of the great Andy Irvine, and the atmospheric 'A Stor Mo Chroi' which Cathy sings with such conviction enhanced by the accompaniment from the rest of the band.

The other approximate half of the C.D. is taken up by sets of jigs and reels which although exhibiting fine musicianship good arranging and strong driving rhythms, too many of the tunes are rather unexceptional and too few really distinctive. Saying that they are none the less enjoyable and make pleasant listening.

The C.D. is released on the Whirling Disc label and with a name like Dervish you might expect them, to look wild and frenzied, but the photograph of them in the sleeve notes projects a rather abandoned and dispirited looking crew. Having recorded a C.D. of this quality they should be smiling from ear to ear.

Iain Goodwin

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This album was reviewed in Issue 1 of The Living Tradition magazine.