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Waulk Records WAULK07

How fortuitous it was for us all that, at the age of 14, James Dumbelton discovered a mandolin hanging on a friend’s wall and decided that this was to be his instrument of choice. Much water has passed under the bridge since then and James has more than justified this youthful preference to the mandolin over the guitar. Musically, played well, the mandolin is a delight that adds rich layers of enrichment and depth to any track. With virtuosic profundity, that displays great sensitive and understanding of the instrument, Houmet Paradis is enchanting from beginning to end.

Periodically interspersed with songs, the CD never fails to surprise at every turn, there are tunes gleaned from the English and Scottish tradition, contemporary material from Cornwall and even a Swedish dance tune, Serpentiner Och Konfetti, incongruously masquerading as the Bampton Side Step. Every track on the CD demonstrates a great unity and fusion with the charming, appealing tones of a mandolin and current preferences of modern folk music. The Yew Tree by Andy Clarke (who plays bouzouki on the album) is a fine catchy tune which, in its current form, is sans words, maybe I or somebody else will oblige! There are a number of appealing renditions of Morris dance tunes ranging from Jenny Lind to Lumps Of Plum Pudding. James has also included two of his own compositions, Wedding March and The Nightly Frolics Of Dominic Reardon, a tune written for his old flat mate of the same name and, if the music is anything to go by, somebody I would like to meet.

Houmet Paradis is very well conceived with a great balance of interesting material which has been given the subtle, refined Dumbelton treatment – a delight in every way.

John Oke Bartlett

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This album was reviewed in Issue 111 of The Living Tradition magazine.