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TRIBAN - Dragons

TRIBAN - Dragons
Clictracs CLICCD201

Triban is a British trio based in deepest Dyfed (hence the CD’s title no doubt!), comprising harpist Harriet Earis, singer/songwriter/guitarist Ian Wyn Rowlands and fiddle player Jasper Salmon.  Their backgrounds vary: Harriet, though classically-trained, now specialises in the celtic harp, and Jasper was a member of Back To Basics with Clive and Beccy Carroll, whereas Ian, as well as having founded the bands Abenaki and Tra Bo Dau, already performs in a solo capacity.  When these three talented individuals come together to form the unique mix that is Triban, they perform both original and traditional material, sensitively and in a flowing, graceful style. 

The actual choice of material is quite refreshing; six of the eleven tracks are trad-arr (four are songs sung in Welsh, one’s an instrumental set and the last’s a version of Raggle Taggle Gypsies), there are three of Ian’s own compositions, two are mythical-romantic, the other’s sung in Welsh and – like the other Welsh tracks – is bereft of both liner note and translation, which is a definite minus point with the CD… The remaining two tracks are renditions of 60s psych-pop numbers: George Harrison’s While My Guitar Gently Weeps and the old Simon Dupree hit Kites.  All nicely enough done, but the problem with Triban is that while their arrangements are well controlled, with each element weaving expertly in and out of its rightful place, and the playing is perfectly competent (although Jasper’s essentially legato style can seem a little dreary at times) there’s not an awful lot of contrast, either in variation of texture or basic approach between individual tracks, and the net effect is that three or four tracks heard as a floor spot or support would be perfectly fine, a whole album or set with identical arrangement and taken at more or less the same medium pace is likely to seem quite dull quite quickly, which is a pity.
David Kidman

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This album was reviewed in Issue 78 of The Living Tradition magazine.