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DUCIE - Mancunia

DUCIE - Mancunia
Private Label DUCIE001

Featuring the impeccable musical talents of Andrew Dinan (fiddle), Ian Fletcher (guitar), Jon Thorne (double bass) and Rich Silva (percussion), this recording is an eclectic mix of traditional and original tunes set to Afro-Cuban percussion and double bass. These guys have played with some of the best around in both traditional and other genres and their inventiveness and skill in the command of their respective instruments is unquestionable.

Undoubtedly impressive though the musicianship is, for me, the overall result fails to inspire. I don't think I am a total traditionalist, but some of the tinkering with really great tunes by setting them to totally different time signatures grates on me. I know the tune is in there somewhere – I can hear all the notes - but it annoys me to have to concentrate so hard to figure out what is going on. A couple in particular just sound totally wonky – Sully's absolutely brilliant jigs The Butlers Of Glen Ave and The Roaring Barmaid are turned inside out and squeezed back into a rumba beat which just does nothing for them other than to confuse the listener. Perhaps if you didn't know the tunes in the first place it might be OK. Is this another case of doing something clever just because you can?

Having said that, there are some very good pieces here too – the first track The Fox stands out, with fiddle and guitar dazzlingly playing the melody in unison with some brilliant funky/jazzy guitar licks intermingled. Intricate and inventive bass and percussion help to drive things along nicely. Others include a great set of well presented reels Boudicca's Set and then there's Mumbai Highway which is a self penned piece inspired by a trip to India – pass the naan!

Overall? Impressive, stylish playing, but I will be selective about which tracks I choose to listen to. They have taken some of them just a bit too far for me.

Jim Byrne


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This album was reviewed in Issue 95 of The Living Tradition magazine.