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D└IMH - The Hebridean Sessions

D└IMH - The Hebridean Sessions
Goat Island Music GIMCD004

The band wanted to get the feel of their session and dance tunes across to listeners, rather than a big studio sound, so all the tracks here were played, recorded and mastered on a number of different islands. The band all live on or within sight of islands. The word “Hebridean” is in the title. Get the links? Good.

With their new line-up of Angus MacKenzie, bagpipes and whistle; Gabe McVarish, fiddle; Ross Martin, guitar; Murdo “Yogi” Cameron, mandola and accordion; and Ellen MacDonald, Gaelic song, there are changes to the infrastructure, but the output remains exactly what you would expect. Dàimh produce a driving powerhouse of sound, but never one which loses the subtlety and complexity of each instrument featured. It all comes together splendidly, with an intensity of feeling which only comes from a bunch of musicians who both understand one another and also genuinely understand their music.

Perhaps the biggest change to the overall sound is the switch to a female vocalist. And what a singer they have in Ellen MacDonald from Inverness. Having studied at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, she is making a name for herself on account of her insightful interpretations of her material, all delivered in a voice which blends in perfectly with the band.

The songs themselves (with a pictorial “key” for those whose Gaelic is limited!) cover a range of topics, from the ups and downs of love and the rigours of crofting to tobacco (yes, really!)

From start to finish, this CD is a winner with everyone involved on absolutely top form.

Gordon Potter

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This album was reviewed in Issue 112 of The Living Tradition magazine.