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DARTRY CEILI BAND - The Killavil Post

DARTRY CEILI BAND - The Killavil Post
Private Label LTCD9001

This album has the sound and the feel of a good session, as well as being perfect for dancing. The Dartry Ceili Band won highest honours in 2009, taking the All-Ireland trophy back to Sligo - a rare event indeed. This young band is formed around a tight nucleus of players, nine melody instruments you couldn't separate with a bucket of cold water, plus very tasteful drums and piano which provide just the right support without intruding. Flutes, fiddles and free reeds include some familiar faces - Philip Dufy, Declan Folan, June McCormack, Mossie Martin and Michael Rooney have all recorded before. This breadth of experience provides a very varied fourteen tracks: two songs, a spot of lilting, and a dozen selections including marches, polkas, barndances and hornpipes as well as the obligatory jigs and reels. As you might expect, the music of Michael Coleman and Paddy Killoran is not lacking.

Down the Broom and Cregg's Pipes start us off, the band leaning nicely into the long notes. Next Joe Derrane's Jig jogs neatly into Lesley's March, the first of several Scottish tunes here. Michael Rooney's composition The Rebel's March lends a show-band sparkle to proceedings, and this continues through the song Far Away In Australia as fluter Noelle Carroll unpurses her lips to recall Dolores Keane's rendition with De Danann. The band fairly flies through The Maids of Castlebar to reach the title track, polkas ending in one of my favourites.  A couple of classic jigs, another march, and we come to a pair of delightful and rarely-heard reels: The Reel of Bogey and The Sligo Duke, Coleman and Killoran being the source of the first and Willie Clancy of the second. The Dartry Ceili Band puts a satisfying bounce into two well-known hornpipes before The Piper, a song which used to be Kevin Burke's party piece and is delivered rather better here by singer and lilter Cian Kearins. Pearl's Barndance is another highlight, rather quicker than I remember her playing it. Another set of classic jigs leads to the big finish: Tarbolton Lodge, The Longford Collector and The Sailor's Bonnet: a great Coleman selection. With excellent notes too, dance band CDs don't come much better than The Killavil Post.

Alex Monaghan

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This album was reviewed in Issue 86 of The Living Tradition magazine.