FolkWords Reviews

‘Beg & Borrow’ – Battlefield Band - an album you should go out and buy

(November 03, 2015)

So what’s there to say about Battlefield band that hasn’t already been said, well the answer is not much. Having been around so long they are now referred to as ‘a great institution of Scottish traditional battlefiled band beg and borrowmusic’, which could be misleading. However, unlike many ‘institutions’ there’s nothing staid or stuffy about this band. Despite more than forty years producing their distinct fusion of ancient and contemporary music and song, the band has never stood still. Innovation and invention go hand in hand through their music, allied to an enduring respect for their traditional roots. And despite numerous line-up changes along the way the essential ‘battlefield’ remains.

Their latest album ‘Beg & Borrow’ is collaborative project involving twelve special guests, to share in and explore the music shared by the Scottish and Irish traditions. Long have these two nations combined and copied music and song from each other, extending and developing each other’s traditions, as well as spreading their heritage worldwide.The result is a rich collection of eighteen tracks that demonstrate the differences, similarities, interaction and exchange between these two cultures with reels, strathspeys and marches, songs and slow airs, hornpipes and jigs – you name it, it’s in there.

The illustrious list of special guests includes Christine Primrose (Gaelic song) Alison Kinnaird (Scottish harp, cello) Jim Kilpatrick (snare and bass drums) John Martin (fiddle) Mike Whellans (harmonica) Nuala Kennedy (Gaelic song, flute) Leo McCann (melodeon) Aaron Jones (vocals, bouzouki) Barry Gray (Highland bagpipe) Robin Morton (vocals, bodhran) Don Meade (harmonica) and Tony DeMarco (fiddle) … by any standards a wash of talent from Scottish and Irish music. And for certain, this is an album you should go out and buy, no question.

Battlefield Band are Mike Katz (highland and small pipes, whistles, bass, guitar, vocals) Alasdair White (fiddle, whistle, bouzouki, vocals) and Sean O'Donnell (guitar, vocals). Find ‘Beg & Borrow here: www.begandborrow.net

Review: Tim Carroll

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