As unlikely as they are talented, the members of Doolin are French musicians playing Irish music, recording on a Nashville-based label. Formed in 2005 in Toulouse by six musicians from widely different backgrounds but united in their love of Irish music, the group’s newest album shows little trace of their native land, with lyrics principally in English.
The group mostly plays instrumentals, propelled by the hot bodhran playing of Josselin Fournel and the percussive guitar work (not unlike Doyle’s) of Nicholas Besse. With the smooth, heartfelt singing of Wilfried Besse, the group also does a great job with Bob Dylan’s old folk-style “Ballad of Hollis Brown” and Steve Earle’s modern classic “Galway Girl.”
As if a reminder that they are not a traditional band, the group saves their version of Sinead O’Connor’s agit-prop “Famine” for the end of the album, speeding up O’Connor’s slow rolling funk to a more upbeat rap in English and French.
Apart from the initial shock elicited by what I call the “talking dog syndrome,” the group has produced an album that should be welcome to fans of high-energy modern traditionalists such as Solas, Lunasa and Flook. In fact, the group’s producer is guitarist John Doyle, an original member of Solas.
In fact, it’s not hard to imagine this soulful, buoyant album crossing any number of borders, appealing to Americana and folk fans as well as devotees of music from the Celtic diaspora. -
Find the band online.