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Michael Grey "Shambolica!" DunaberCD01

When I see the word 'fusion' used in conjunction with the bagpipes (or concertina or even bodhran for that matter) I tend to approach the associated recording with trepidation. Fusion is promoterspeak for an indescribable mess as often as it describes carefully crafted cocktails of sound. 'Imagine my surprise', as the expression goes, to encounter this collection of gems from an exiled Scot who can 'blaw a mean tune'. Perhaps a tad self-indulgent in parts - for example the inclusion of his (I assume) granny's gaelic singing voice sampled and knitted on to the end of the same piece beautifully performed by Jane Siberry - followed by said granny saying words to the effect that she hopes he can get someone to translate it. Yes I did get the joke - it just wasn't very funny. Inclusion of such items tends to produce a wee giggle the first time you hear them. Sadly they are still burned on to the wretched CD for ever, and become successively less amusing. 'Tis a shame really, because Michael Grey is an accomplished musician and composer, who has also co-produced this album, and has obviously spent A LOT of time creating this product (most of which is great).

Anyway, apart from said gaelic bit, there's some straightforward orchestrated highland piping, a dash of jazzy swing, a couple of techno-piping episodes and yer (marginally better than) average boppy finale bit in the style Battlefield (Band not Bannockburn). Ah, so it's THAT kind of fusion!

Grem Devlin

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This album was reviewed in Issue 47 of The Living Tradition magazine.