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DIPPER MALKIN - Tricks Of The Trade

DIPPER MALKIN - Tricks Of The Trade
Private Label DM001

When it comes to getting yourself heard in the small, crowded world of folk music, one of the tricks of the trade is to adopt an unfamiliar instrument that gives you a slightly different core sound from the rest. It worked for the sax in Moving Hearts; it works for the Scandinavian sounds of Vicki Swan and Jonny Dyer. This album sees it working very nicely indeed for Messrs Dipper and Malkin.

John Dipper was highly regarded as a fiddler, but he has been experimenting with a virtually extinct instrument – the viola d'amore (no translation required, surely). It is effectively an early nyckelharpa – reinforcing the Swan/Dyer comparison – or a supercharged violin with extra sympathetic strings to carry a drone, if that is a word we can reclaim from the military. There the similarities end, because Dipper and Malkin are distinctively English, albeit with an exotic twist. They also sound entirely comfortable playing this combination of instruments; precise but not excessively polite.

As a bonus, when guitarist Dave Malkin sings, he sounds uncannily like Chris Wood. Nothing wrong with that, of course. It's another good reason for exploring an album that, in all other respects, sounds that little bit different from anything else out there.

Dave Hadfield

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This album was reviewed in Issue 117 of The Living Tradition magazine.