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FIDIL - Decade 

FIDIL - Decade 
Raelach Records RR017 

This talented fiddle trio seemed to have faded from the scene somewhat, so it was with some anticipation that I got news of this recording. And what a remarkable piece of work it is. There is maturity without complacency, expertise without flashiness, and above all, an instinctive feeling for the music.

While the majority of the tracks come from the Donegal tradition, they’re interspersed with compositions from each of the group members and another from Siobhan Peoples (a gorgeous mazurka). All blend seamlessly and further variety is provided by the use of that Donegal speciality from the musical past, a tin fiddle (this one a newly-built example of this extreme rarity). The entire recording is pervaded by their sensitivity to their place in a long tradition, their dependence on it, and their use of it as a springboard to take the story further. An example of this is their considered use of the aforementioned tin fiddle’s unmistakably vintage tones on a few tunes, some traditional and others newly composed. Highlands and reels give way to mazurkas, airs, descriptive pieces, waltzes and more, giving the sort of variety that you find in a good session.

The CD booklet deserves comment, if only for the atmospheric quality of the photographs of South West Donegal (were they sponsored by the Tourist Board?). This is the country that gave birth to the music – both are untamed and beautiful and that’s something these undoubted maestros have understood and transmitted so well on this record.

John Waltham


This review appeared in Issue 133 of The Living Tradition magazine