Derek Bell

Derek Bell's Musical Ireland

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These 13 tracks represent personal and cultural touchstones for Derek Bell. Some songs ("She Moved Through the Fair," "The Boys of Bluehill," "Hillsborough Castle," and "The Greencastle Hornpipe") present Bell as a solo harpist (and occasionally on oboe, English horn, or gong), some include backing by the New Irish Chamber Orchestra, and others feature Chieftains alumni Sean Potts on tin whistle and Peadar Mercier playing bodhran and bones. All the songs are in their most basic forms, with few of the embellishments that one would get from, say, a Chieftains record, and the entire record has a beguiling gentle lyricism that is quite poignant ("Down by the Sally Gardens" and "Eibhlín a Rúin," in particular). "The Gartan Mother's Lullaby" alone is worth the price of the disc, and anyone seeking an instrumental version of "She Moved Through the Fair" -- which has been done by the likes of Davey Graham, Jimmy Page (ripping off Graham's arrangement note for note under the title "White Summer"), and Marianne Faithfull -- couldn't do better than Bell's exquisitely lilting harp version.

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