Words by Michael Quinn
A long five years after Seanchas, album number eight from Danú arrives in time to celebrate their 20th anniversary in fine style. Produced by Dónal Lunny, who also arranges and guests on the 11-strong collection of new and traditional pieces, Buan (Permanent) shows off the tightly knit ensemble at its expansive best. The spotlight variously falls on each of the five-piece, shifting the focus with polished ease from Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh’s vocals and flute to Oisín McAuley’s fiddle and Éamon Doorley’s hybrid guitar-bouzouki. At her evocative best in Pádraigín Ní Uallacháin’s tenderly poetic ‘The Willow Tree’, Nic Amhlaoibh’s soft-grained vocals light up a brace of songs from her native West Kerry and take haunting possession of the Child Ballad ‘Lady Gregory’. West Kerry also looms large in the exquisite ‘Beir Mo Dhúthracht’, McAuley’s lilting waltz ‘Caisleán Rathanáin’ and guitarist Dónal Clancy’s stirring ‘Mairseáil na Conrach’, which boasts Benny McCarthy’s eloquent accordion playing. The group’s Donegal origins are also apparent in the disc’s spirited opening set of duelling slides and reels, dispatched with consummate panache. Contributions from piper Donnchadh Gough and Tom Doorley on flute and whistle add telling textures of their own to what may well be the best Danú album yet.