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Da Frustra "A Shetland Dance" Highlander Music HRMCD008

Da Fustra are, as the title suggests, a Shetland-based band playing dance music with a Northern influence. The line-up is Peter Wood, accordion; Inga Wood, fiddle; James Leask, accordion; Derek Hendry, piano; Cecil Hughson, bass guitar; and Douglas Johnstone, drums.

The overall band sound is very tight and disciplined, yet not in an over-restrictive sort of way. They play in a manner which allows all of the instruments to interact and be appreciated in their own right, producing an overall cohesive blend which is effective and enjoyable. All of the musicians combine a lightness of touch which is driven along by some imaginative drumming, which never overpowers, but always complements.

The twenty-one tracks here are helpfully listed on the cover by dance types - yes two types, a Shetland one and an alternative. So, if you really feel up to the six different figures of the Shetland Quadrilles, then here's just the choice of tunes for you, and if you're not too sure how to do all the figures, just write to the address given in the notes.

The tunes themselves are well-chosen, both from the tradition and from a range of Shetland and other composers. Right from the start the David Hendry's March / Jimmy And Amy Henderson set grabs the attention and gets the feet twitching, and before you know it, over an hour has passed. Watch out for an intriguing version of Chinatown, My Chinatown, sounding just a wee bit different with a dance band arrangement!

All in all, a CD by a band doing what they do best - enjoying themselves by playing fine music.

Gordon Potter

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This album was reviewed in Issue 49 of The Living Tradition magazine.