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DANÚ - Ten Thousand Miles

DANÚ - Ten Thousand Miles
Private Label DANU2018

The premier Irish band’s last CD was 2015’s Buan; another chapter has since begun with the recruitment of singer Nell Ní Chróinin, back in 2016. Nell's achievements include TG4 Traditional Singer of the Year 2012 and the prestigious Oireactas 'Corn Uí Riada' award in 2014, and on the latest Danú CD, her exceptionally pure voice fits snugly into the well-established band dynamic. Initial acquaintance may seem to emphasise the sparky, youthful aspect to her vocal timbre, but the relaxed maturity of her phrasing surely presents the true singer. Nell performs five songs, generously interspersing reliable takes on quite familiar fare (e.g. Master McGrath) with two real discoveries – the enchanting Ar Maidin Inné, written in aisling form, and the animated Fiach A Mhadra Rua, a fox-hunting tale from Co. Cork.

Musical settings are sensibly supportive and undistracting, while displaying all the hallmarks of musicians who are comfortable with each other’s playing and aware of how they can contribute individually to the mix. At the same time, when a fuller palette is utilised, as with Oísín McAuley’s string arrangements for Ten Thousand Miles and The Foggy Dew, the result is both natural and persuasive. Throughout this new album there’s no shortage of the delicate instrumental interplay that’s always been a feature of the Danú sound, while the forthright, confident nature of the playing invariably generates frissons of genuine excitement too. The album’s five tune-sets don’t build in the customary headlong sense, but rather evolve through each carefully planned sequence, and the end result is all the more believable for not manufacturing or manipulating the listener’s response. It’s so good to welcome Danú back to CD, and this new offering won’t disappoint.

Dvid Kidman

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This album was reviewed in Issue 124 of The Living Tradition magazine.