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Celtic Fiddle Festival "Rendezvous" Green Linnet Records GLCD1216

Did you hear the one about the Scotsman, the Irishman, and the Frenchman? Well, they collaborated on a project entitled Celtic Fiddle Festival. Along the way they produced a thunderously good CD of diverse fiddle music from their respective nations. In many ways CFF are a 'back to basics' outfit concentrating on the beauty of the instrument. A welcome change to bombarding the listener with dextrous playing styles, and complex arrangements. That's not to suggest they aren't capable players, quite the opposite in fact, they could just as easily be called the Celtic Fiddle Celebration.

Apart from a quick name-check the players need little introduction. Kevin Burke, Johnny Cunningham, and Christian LeMaitre, unite with sole guitarist Ged Foley. If you don't already know these musicians this is either the first time you've purchased a folk music magazine (if so hi!), or you've been missing in the Bermuda Triangle for the last twenty-five years. The chosen material reflects the simplicity and ease with which the players bind together, opening in time honoured fashion with "O'Carolan's Concerto". There are a few welcome surprises along the way, "The Skye Boat Song" is given a new lease of life, and the four French tunes from different areas of Brittany are a joy.

It'd be easy to be a bit aloof and disdainful when reviewing this collection, bearing in mind the familiarity of much of the material. But the honest and downright joyous nature of the way the players treat these standards is a thrill from beginning to end surely disarming even the staunchest Celtic anoraks.

Keith Whitham

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