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DERVISH & FRIENDS - The Leitrim Equation 2

DERVISH & FRIENDS - The Leitrim Equation 2
Private Label LTCD9016

The first Leitrim Equation CD resulted from Lúnasa's year as resident musicians, and volume 2 comes from Leitrim County Council's choice of Dervish as a follow-up group. A good three dozen Leitrim musicians join the Sligo Six here, and many of their names will be known to you: Ben Lennon, Eleanor Shanley, Noel Sweeney, Mary McPartlan, Mick Mulvey, John Regan, Dave Sheridan, and upcoming local lad Andy Irvine. The quality is mixed, but Leitrim certainly shows its fair share of talent. Most interesting for me are the new names here: Fionnuala Maxwell who sings a stately Little Hills Of Leitrim with confidence, the five Ward girls playing a charming selection of jigs, the powerful raw voice of Rosie Stewart on one of two versions of The Shores Of Lough Bran, and a few tracks featuring Mossie Martin (not exactly a new name, I know, but not extensively recorded) with fellow fiddlers Ben Lennon and Tom Morrow.

The distinctive singing and playing of Dervish enhances most tracks on this collection. Cathy Jordan duets with any number of singers, while the lads provide a tightly woven backdrop to the songs and dance music. Vocals and instrumentals are evenly balanced. There's a bit of harp, a lot of flute, and several accordions and fiddles, all in the hands of master musicians. Padraig McGovern and Jarlath McTernan deliver impressive piping on The Shores Of Lough Bran and the obligatory Lovely Leitrim. The inclusion of an archive track is an interesting choice: few details are provided, but a previous generation of players provides a toe-tapping canter through Dick Gossip's and Last Night's Fun, two of my favourite reels. Information on this release is scarce enough, so I suggest you google it - or visit Leitrim. Maybe that's the intention.

Alex Monaghan

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This album was reviewed in Issue 90 of The Living Tradition magazine.