Dàimh – The Rough Bounds

Album Review | Goat Island Music | Review by Marc Higgins | Stars: 3/5

Dàimh pronounced dive, are a Scottish Highlands based band with an ongoing mission to defend and promote Gaelic culture. Translated from the Gaelic Na Garbh Chrìochan, the Rough Bounds are an area of West Lochaber where Dàimh were formed twenty years ago, regarded historically as an unruly and inaccessible. Dàimh take the unspoilt natural splendour from that area not the disruptive inaccessibility. While not necessarily the free jazz rebels that the historic connection might initially suggest, they are challenging the tradition, looking forward and back with a mix of half band compositions and half traditional material. S Trusaidh mi na Coilleagan and Tha Fadachd orm Fhin feature the beautiful Gaelic singing of Ellen MacDonald. “12th of June” and “Donald MacLeod Reels” are nimble tightly played sets of tunes, the two sides of the mighty Dàimh, Pipes, Fiddles, Accordions and Guitars either furiously pushing dancers on, or weaving softer accompaniment to Gaelic song. The songs a mix of seldom heard and better known ballads, cover all the expected Dàimh themes, drinking, fighting, heartbreak and heading off to sea, never to be seen again. Indeed the sleeve has a key of symbols for each of these and a diagram to show which songs touch on which themes. An excellent idea if there ever was one which could be universally adopted across the Folk and Acoustic tradition. Stately and beautiful on “Oran Bhagh a Chaise”, drawing pictures behind the beauty of Ellen MacDonald’s voice or bubbling with rhythm light and colour on “Happy Fish” this is a delight of an album listening or dancing.