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DERVISH - A Celebration: 1989 - 2014

DERVISH - A Celebration: 1989 - 2014
Whirling Discs WHIRL017

You know you’re getting old when… (provide your own examples!) Did you give as an example “you produce a 25th anniversary CD”? No? Then you’re not a member of Dervish, evidently. I am of an age that I can remember hearing Dervish at one of their first ever performances in Scotland, and being absolutely knocked out at the drive and enthusiasm that underpinned their vibrant musicianship. This CD just goes to show that none of that has diminished in the slightest over this period.

For newer readers, Dervish is a Sligo-based band, comprising Michael Holmes, bouzouki; Cathy Jordan, vocals, bodhran and bones; Liam Kelly, flute and whistles; Brian McDonagh, mandola and mandolin; Shane Mitchell, accordion; and Tom Morrow, fiddle and viola. Right from the start, they coalesced into one of the country’s foremost interpreters of their traditions, with a flexibility in instrumentation that allows them to switch from thundering all-out powerhouse playing to gently sympathetic background to Cathy’s haunting, clear vocals.

As the title suggests, this release is a sampler of recordings which can be found on their earlier albums - Harmony Hill, Playing With Fire, At The End Of The Day, Live In Palma, Midsummer’s Night, Spirit, Travelling Show and The Thrush In The Storm. In addition, there’s a new recording of Welcome Poor Paddy Home which was made for this CD.

This is an excellent introduction to the band for those who haven’t heard them much, and is also a great reminder for everyone else of just how you need to play to keep the standards up over the years. Mind you, the way these guys play, they’ll still be going in another 25 years’ time!

Gordon Potter

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This album was reviewed in Issue 105 of The Living Tradition magazine.