The shift in musical explortion in traditional folk seems to be at an all time peak of late. The likes of Iarla Ó Lionáird and The Gloaming‘ project which featured Thomas Bartlett (aka Doveman, a long term collaborator of Sam Amidon), Dennis Cahill, Martin Hayes and Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh have been re-shaping the boundaries, dazzling audiences as well as introducing newcomers to the trad music scene like never before. Inventiveness is at the forefront but so is a willingness to explore through new collaborations. In this respect Andy Dinan (The Bad Shepherds) and Ian Fletcher (Future Trad Collective) are no exception having forged a new musical partnership under the guise of Ducie along with Richard Sliwa (Inner Space) and Jon Thorne (Lamb, Trilok Gurtu) who provide the rythmn section. The results are really quite something as they demonstrate on their new album MANCUNIA.
Both Andy and Ian are no strangers to collaboration (Adrian Edmondson & The Bad Shepherds, Michael McGoldrick Big Band, Tori Amos, Faith Evans, Eat Static and Hossam Ramzy) and both of them recognised an opportunity to create an album that not only explored and celebrated their own influences but also used old tradtional tunes in new compositions with heavy percussion that challenege the mainstay (or what was) and produce something that has a drive more in common with the high powered dancefloor than the back room session.
From the opening track ‘The Fox‘ the album hits the floor running tantalising you with not just the flow and pace but also the stunning double bass of Jon Thorne, a pioneer of the instrument in the field of electronic music, and the percussion of Rich Sliwa. There is a whole mix of influences which rise to the surface on Ian Fletcher’s guitar and Andrew Dinan’s fiddle before subsiding back to joined melodies. Despite the array of Irish, Breton, Scottish, Eastern European, Blues, Reggae, Flamenco, Indian and Funk at play throughout this album there is a lovely union of mind…something you’d recognise in a session with the occasional flourishes and equally so in the field of Jazz. The combination of group flow and freestyle breakthroughs will excite and bring shouts of ‘oh yeah!’ as the solos let rip!
The inventiveness of MANCUNIA is staggering, I have fallen for this album hook, line and sinker! The gorgeous flamenco on Lusignac is uplifting and full of the promise of musical escape whilst the amazing bass lines of ‘Solstice‘ is enough to moisten the lips of any Portico Quartet fan. There is just not let up…the funky ‘Sunset Barmaid‘ is to die for and in amongst all this they find time for a celtic eastern fringed lament in the form of ‘Song of the Strings‘. There’s reggae with the dub ‘Grianan Bear It‘ in which Dinan’s fiddle dances around like the man with no weight on his shoulders…The closing ‘Mumbai Highway‘ is the perfect ending…proof that music has no borders!
An incredible album! I cannot recommend this enough!
Album Stream: Ducie – Mancunia
Wed 13 Feb Brighton, Latest Bar
Thurs 14 Feb Southampton, Talking Heads
Fri 15 Feb Guildford , Boiler Room
Sat 16 Feb Bristol, Colston Hall 2
Wed 20 Feb London, Half Moon
Thurs 21 Feb Gt. Bardfield, High Barn
Fri 22 Feb Rodborough, Prince Albert
Sat 23 Feb Totnes, Studio Lounge
Sun 24 Feb Exeter, The Phoenix