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World Music CD Reviews Celtic & Irish

DERVISH

By Rob Weir
Published March 17, 2006

Live in Palma
Compass

This double CD is a solid what-you-hear-is-what you-get 1997 concert performance from one of Ireland’s most proclaimed bands. Its stirring jig and reel sets often draw comparisons to the legendary Bothy Band, and Cathy Jordan’s vocals are, at times, eerily reminiscent of Tríona Ní Dhomhnaill. But Dervish is not a collection of Bothywannabes. Its musical core comes from the collaboration between flutist Liam Kelly, fiddler Shane McAleer and Shane Mitchell, who weave pure melodic magic throughout, while fret wizards Michael Holmes and Brian McDonagh lay down rhythms that owe as much to the shoals of rock and roll as the rocky shores of Sligo. The band’s low-key stage chat stands in marked contrast to its fiery playing, and one occasionally longs for more energy from the talented but laid-back Jordan. When Dervish cranks it up, they leave most Celtic bands in the dust.