Dance in the Shadow

by Benji Kirkpatrick

Mainly music, but some songs, on bouzouki, guitar, mandolin, bodhran, with oboe additions from Paul Sartin.



Hailing from the wild hills of Shropshire, Benji is the progeny of two reknowned and prolific musicians (and parents). His first experience of recording was on his fathers 1994 album Earthling, then in 1995 he led his band The Hedgerows into the path of Mrs. Caseys Music who asked him to contribute a track (Robin Hood - The Tolling Bell) to their first Evolving Tradition album, released to great national acclaim. The Hedgerows enjoyed the next few years regularly gigging, first as a five-piece, then as a duo - their most notable performances being at the Barbican Centre (the launch for Evolving Tradition), Mid-Wales Festival, Towersey Village Festival, Sidmouth Festival and as support for Altan, The Oysterband, The John Kirkpatrick Band, Craobh Rua, The Dharmas, etc. etc. . . Benji now performs as a soloist, as well as with The John Kirkpatrick Band. 2006 - Benji now also performs with Bellowhead and Faustus.

Goatherder
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Ridgewalkers
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The Star of Munster
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Bubbles in the Earth
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Without Words
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Trooper and the Maid
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The Round House Jigs
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Paddy Cronins No. 2/Kitty in the Lane
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The Curragh of Kildare
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Up in the Air
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Stay Where You Are/ The Foxhunters Jig/ The Merry Blacksmith
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The Bold Pedlar
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The Maid in the Cherry Tree/ The New Demesne
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Dirty Linen

The son of John Kirkpatrick and Sue Harris, Kirkpatrick has for several years now been touring and recording with the group The Hedgerows. This disc marks his debut as a solo recording artist, and its a strong first effort. It highlights Kirkpatricks instrumental skills on bouzoukis, guitars and mandolins, as well as his singing and songwriting. In general the standards of playing on this disc are quite high. I particularly like his takes on Traditional tunes; one set of reels contains a lot of what Kirkpatrick calls riffage accompanying the basic tune, which makes for an interesting sound and a fun track. Kirkpatricks own compositions are very impressive, as well; a pretty set of jigs written in honor of the house where he was brought up is both touching to think about and enjoyable to listen to. Kirkpatricks singing does fall somewhat short of spectacular, however, and the effect of an album based on bouzoukis and mandolins is a somewhat tinny listening experience. From what Ive heard, then, Kirkpatricks skills work best in a band environment. Still, this disc shows he can go it alone, as well.

Folk on Tap

Phu

One of the mainstays of an excellent band called The Hedgerows, who contributed a superb track Robin Hood?The Tolling Bell to the first Evolving Tradition´┐Ż CD was Beriji Kirkpatrick, son of the famous John and Sue Kirkpatrick. Sadly the band didnt last long but their demise has now given young Beriji a chance to shine as a solo performer and this CD certainly showcases his undoubted talent. As well as being a good singer, he has inherited his parents instrumental skills and plays guitar, bouzouki and mandolin frighteningly well. He is joined by one Bod on bodhran and Paul Sartin on oboe. There are several songs on the album, the best of which is The Bold Pedlar, with its excellent arrangement. He also chips in with one of his own songs Ridgewalkers, which proves he is no slouch in the songwriting department either. The tunes are a mix of traditional and self?composed, but no matter whattheir origin Benii always provides neat, uncluttered arrangements coupled with quite superb musicianship. Another name to add to the growing roster of young talent that has come through in the past few years.



Folk On



Well, if ever you needed an album where one musician overdubs numerous instruments (aided by a bodrahn player (Bod ? as it says here) and a oboist (Paul Sartin) look no further. How a bloke wot looks to be no older than twelve can be so good is beyond me. He still needs to develop his own vocal style but basically hes an instrumentalist I believe; at the moment hes merely triff but who knows what a few more hours experience may bring ... !

Theres mainly a mixture of trad arr B. Kirkpatrick and pieces hes written, and a touch of wry humour in the sleeve notes indicates he doesnt take himself too seriously. I know there are loads of folkies who love repetitive dancy pieces to death (Im not one of them) so they should get a kick out of the examples on this album. Some tracks are better than others (Curragh of Kildare is dire, Ridgewalkers is triff) and overall this is a sampler of a great technical talent which is surely going to grow.