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Conspiracy Records CONSP0603001

Shona comes from Durham, with an Anglo-Irish background. Rising through the Comhaltas, her accordion playing has been influenced by the likes of Lynn Tocker. A finalist in the 2002 BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Musician Awards, she has also been an All-Ireland finalist. Damian came to Newcastle upon Tyne from his native Coleraine to study the Traditional Music course at the University, having been an All-Ireland banjo finalist. So did they team up in Geordieland or Ireland? No, Falun, Sweden, at a youth summer school, was when the first started playing together - a long way to go, but worth it for the end results. Was that the pure chance that inspired the title?

Add to the boxes and banjo Damien's guitar and vocals and the ingredients are all in place for a fine debut album which draws inspiration from a variety of sources. Here we have traditional and more recent tunes from Ireland, England, Scotland, and, of course, Sweden, plus a pleasant version of The Lakes of Ponchartrain.

There is a liveliness about their playing, with both these young musicians able to feed off the other, not afraid to embellish here and there without detriment to the overall sound, which is fluid yet tight, crisp and exciting. They also showcase a splendid solo track each. While there may be influences from other musicians, Shona and Damien are crafting a sound that is uniquely theirs and one which should grab the attention of festival and event organisers, as this CD would make you want to catch them live.

Gordon Potter

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