Dalla: Cribbar

Dalla are a 4 piece dance band specialising in Cornish ‘Celtic’ dance music. They are based in Redruth, Cornwall. If you are dancer who enjoys the odd schottishe, furry, kabm pymp, etc, you’ll know what you are doing more than me! To be fair the album is recorded very well and I could not fault the musicianship. There are 12 tracks on Cribbar, out of which 5 are songs, one of which is sung in Cornish Gaelic (I think!). Its called ‘Tolla Rooz’ and adapted from a poem written in 1710 by John Bosun. It is pre-empted by a Cornish version of the song Barbara Allan called ‘Ann Tremellan’. Both are sung well by Hillary Coleman and Bec Applebee. The other song on the album is an interesting version of ‘Maggie May’ – completely different from the song usually associated with this title both in folk song or pop music! This one was written in America in 1869, brought back to this country by sailors, who I imagine docked in Bristol.

One track that stands out, giving the album some theatre and entertainment value is ‘Mary’s Waltz.’ The title’s a little strange — it is narrated by Bec Applebee in a Cornish accent against a musical background. Very effective. It tells the tale of Mary Bryant and how she was transported to Australia in the 1780’s for stealing a bonnet. It is taken from Bec Applebee’s one-woman show called ‘Oh Mary’.

The band is Hilary Coleman: clarinet, bass clarinet, Indian harmonium, and vocals. Neil Davey: bouzouki, fiddle, mandolin, huer’s horn and vocals; Bec Apllebee: crowdy crawn, darabuka, scoots, mung beans, bells, and vocals; Steve Hunt: guitar, crowdy crawn (Cornish bodhran) and vocals. Guest musicians on this album are Jen Dyer: viola; Kyt Le Nen- Davey: accordion; Will Coleman: gaita bagpipes; The Perraners choir; Tom Tremewan: spoken Cornish; and Gareth Young: seagulls. Gareth also recorded, mixed and mastered the album.

I enjoyed the album, although personally, I wasn’t over keen on sound of the clarinet on some of the tunes, – it’s not normally an instrument that is associated with traditional music, but it grows on you.

You can buy the album online here or visit the band’s website here to learn more about Dalla.

(Dalla Records, 2010)

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