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D└IMH - Tuneship

D└IMH - Tuneship
Goat Island Music GIMCD003

There is a Dutch poet called Lucebert who wrote: “Peace is food with music.” This definitely applies to Dàimh from the West Highlands of Scotland, whose members enjoy cooking, baking and research into a better world, along with making great music. This is Dàimh’s fourth album and showcases their first change in line-up in 14 years. Griogair Labhruidh comes in to replace the vocal talents of Calum Alex MacMillan, and Damian Helliwell also joins on mandolin and banjo, replacing Colm O’Rua and James Bremner.

The sound, however, is still unmistakably Dàimh. A perfect blend of pipes, fiddle, mandolin, banjo, guitar and other bits and pieces. The carefully crafted arrangements allow us to hear everything, nothing is lost behind the big sound of the pipes.

Ross Martin’s guitar reminds me a lot Mícheál Ó Domhnaill because of his easy and mysterious swing, and I loved the track played mostly on mandolin, Bottle For Brigg. There are peaceful interludes inserted, maybe just to give your ears a break from the big pipe tunes! I felt myself being rocked between a dream-like state and going weehee!

I love the singing - lovely, very unpretentious and natural. I’m not too sure about some of the accompaniment though. The melodies of the songs are beautifully complex and while the accompaniment succeeds in being modest and following, I don’t always find it very effective.

What I do love though is that although Dàimh’s sound is unique, it’s not contrived. I can hear they’re steeped in tradition, not stuck. Inventive, but not vague. Also, I can’t seem to hear any Galician influence for a change. It’s just great to see a new generation of talented musicians finding enough inspiration in their own culture. These guys can do anything - if they show up in Holland, I’ll be in the front, either staring dreamily or jumping up and down.

Annemarie de Bie

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This album was reviewed in Issue 99 of The Living Tradition magazine.