CD Review - Déanta "Whisper of a Secret"

A million and one thanks to the editor who sent me this album, just what the doctor ordered, foot-tappingly beauitful. Déanta are based in Antrim and consist of five girls and one guy. They play traditional Irish music, and they play it like no other band on the planet. Unlike some of the other young guns currently making waves on both sides of the Atlantic, Déanta have NOT gone down the well worn route of "give it a dose of rocket fuel, foot to the floor, out blast the Bothy Band and divil the pillion passenger."

Déanta offer a rounded, more intelligent and coherent treatment of the tradition, they give the tunes life as well as lift; paying attention to tempo, time is given for melodies to develop and resolve. Ensemble playing is thoughtful and well worked. Guest musicians are employed to add and fill out the sound, as on the final track where the saxophone of Richard Buckley adds a flavour that is their own and not a poor pastiche of the Flannagan Brothers or Moving Hearts. The songs are equally impressive, perhaps the weakest is the old classic, The Blacksmith, whilst Andy M Stewart's Where are You? would surely please himself. The song, Willie and Mary (which is only given as a fragment in Gale Huntington's reprint of Henry's Songs of the People H89), is fleshed out here, and the anatomy is beautiful. If you like La Lugh, and the Ulster sensibility for the tradition, Déanta will knock your socks off.

If you don't like them, you probably need to see a pharmacist. AR

August 1997