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SHILLELAGH - Hemels Douwe

SHILLELAGH - Hemels Douwe
Appel Rekords MB01

I am not entirely sure why this talented trio of musicians call themselves Shillelagh as they all hail from Northern France and musically concentrate on traditional music from “the Flanders”. However, on closer inspection, universal influences from the British and Irish folk world can plainly be discerned. There is a distinct Celtic style running through the underbelly of the music, all accompanied by the evocative French style of playing, so enigmatic of the rose-tinted sleepy French Village café bar culture and annual Fête. Considering there are only three instruments (Gabriel Lenoir: fiddle, Aurelien Tanghe: guitar and Benjamin Macke: accordion) the sound is rich, accomplished and lively. One must take their word for it that these tunes are fairly obscure but they certainly deserve a wider audience. If there are any folk-dance bands out there reading this, on this CD there is a rich seam, a veritable cornucopia of material just ready for the plucking - heavenly indeed!

This is Shillelagh’s fifth album in which they have admirably continued their personal mission to bring back some of the half forgotten, unknown dance tunes from Northern France, and a fine job they have made of it too. Picking out any one track is difficult, as the whole hangs together so well and, besides, this is essentially dance music. However, always a sucker for a fine tune, Het Afscheid has a great enticing melody that deserves some equally appealing words. This is a fine CD, well executed and packed full of great folk-dance music.

John Oke Bartlett

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This album was reviewed in Issue 121 of The Living Tradition magazine.