Bill Whelan’s Riverdance

Originally created as an intermission act for Eurovision (for which I already had a soft spot anyway),Riverdance went on to become not only a hugely successful stage show, album and DVD, but also an excellent source of gossip. Michael Flatley, who, despite being deeply odd and kind of funny-looking, really can dance, quit the show to start Lord of the Dance, sparking rumour after rumour after rumour.

All of which means it’s nice to have a disc of the music without having to deal with Flatley. Despite occasionally sounding over-produced (especially in the vocal sections), Whelan’s music is entertaining, lively and energetic.

The music on this disc still sounds very close to the stage show—there are moments that are clearly killing time while things move or change on stage—but this is partly what gives it its ‘kick’. The opening number includes the remarkable percussion of an entire dance troupe’s feet on the stage, and I can’t decide whether or not it’s a shame that there isn’t more of this on the album.

To appreciate this disc, you will need to have a healthy appreciation of cheesy music—if you like Abba, Eurovision, or pretty much any of the music of the 1980s, you’ll be fine. It isn’t high art, but it is a lot of fun.