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Customer Review

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars heart-breakingly beautiful, delicate singing, stunning arran, 21 Nov. 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Cara Dillon (Audio CD)
If there is one voice you could listen to all day it is that of this girl from Dungiven, Northern Ireland. Heart-breakingly delicate, angelic, effortless, with a devastating rarefied quality which formerly I thought was unique to Polly Bolton. Stylistically brilliant, faultless -- and I really mean never a hint of a blemish -- with pure tone, the weeniest hint of vibrato. Completely natural, high, great range; never ever forced. It does sound girlishly sweet but it has absolutely none of the negative connotations. I doubt there has ever been a voice so quiet yet so powerful. Is it a head voice, or from the throat? I don't know: it just comes out from the corners of her mouth and mesmerises everybody. And yes, it sounds almost as good on CD as it does live.
If I had to choose musician/arrangers the Lakemans might well top my list. Keyboardist Sam is the principal musician and the arranger with Cara. By the second in Donald Of Glencoe the power of arrangement really pulls you up. It's a highly effective use of contemporary ideas to carry and add force to a trad song, followed by a paragon of simplicity in Craigie Hill; then a stunning rhythmic treatment of Green Grows The Laurel. Precision tastefullness almost unmatched for the still youthful average age of this lot. The Lakemans outdo just about everybody in distinctive original use of rhythm and instrumentation (without anything remotely whacky) for setting folk songs, even though the standard in this area has climbed steeply of late.
Good to hear the superb melody of Lark In The Clear Air; just piano/vocal. The Lonesome Scenes Of Winter is a classic example of how to build a sparse accompaniment into a full band setting -- there are other musicians on the album to provide electric guitar/drums/bass sparingly. Then sandwiched right in the middle of the album are two strong Cara/Sam originals which hold up against the trad material, despite the next up being another gorgeous melody sensitively treated: The Maid Of Culmore. The first, Blue Mountain River, explodes into its chorus and I Wish I Was is forcefully, innovatively phrased; both interesting halfway houses between trad and the beautiful new acoustic of The Equation.
Another fine example of an arrangement which builds, She's Like The Swallow, and then the final item, I Am A Youth That's Inclined To Ramble, which comes with an added vocalised coda so absolutely right it's hard to imagine the song without it. Throughout the songs have been chosen for tunes with the Irish strength of bags of rise and fall, and distinctive ones at that. Cara sings them without the slightest suspicion of inappropriate embellishment. Magical.
Steve Moxon
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