The unifying geographical feature of the Celtic lands is that they lie next to oceans and their people are thus, says poet Theo Dorgan, open to new things arriving by sea.
Dorgan's words play a significant part in Dan – pronounced dawn and translated as poem – as this 14-strong Irish, Scottish, Breton and English collective combine new ideas and traditional flavours into a common musical language.
As a concept it has much to applaud and the players work really well together. For the moment though it tends rather too often to fall into a kind of all-purpose Celtic groove, which is rewarding as far as it goes but doesn't go far enough. There's a lot to accommodate here: Dorgan's poem-songs and Mike Tickell's rugged Northumbrian poetry, Alyth McCormack's sweetly attractive but at times overly vibrato-laden singing plus fiddles, whistles, pipes, guitars, melodeon, concertina, drums and sparingly used trumpet.
Loading article content
It's a commendably tight sound but it was only towards the interval and into the quite brief second half, when real dare-you-to-dance metrical adventure and frontline instrument daring pointed towards something genuinely interesting and exciting, that the project began to demonstrate its individual voice.