‘Astar’ from Breabach “... a treat for your ears”(February 19, 2016)
A new album from Breabach is cause for celebration, those of us ‘in the know’ are ready for another blast of inspirational music and song revelling in the Scottish tradition but always ready to fly the flag of innovation ‘Astar’ the latest offering from Scotland’s superb five-piece is more of the same but more. This time their brand of traditional-contemporary folk is augmented by a wealth of musical talent from Norway, Quebec, Australia and New Zealand. Previously, Breabach have been described as ‘delivering something truly different’ with ‘Astar’ different has turned into unique.
More than a melting pot of culture and heritage, ‘Astar’ brings together a unique and inspiring talent-pool, featuring Aboriginal artist Yirrmal Marika, Maori tradition bearer Scott Morrison, Hardanger virtuoso Olav Luksengård Mjelva, Quebecois violinist Olivier Demers and the wonderful Le Vent Du Nord with guest vocals. Breabach as always are Calum MacCrimmon (pipes, whistles ,bouzouki, vocals) Ewan Robertson (guitar, vocals) James Mackenzie (pipes, flute, whistles), Megan Henderson (fiddle, vocals, stepdance) and James Lindsay (double bass).
Any venture that moves you away from your roots to a place that involves absorbing different heritages or working with a range of artists offers the potential for a mishmash of output. Not here, this collaboration between artists, traditions, innovations and cultures has produced an outstanding album. Morrison’s lyrics in the Haka tradition sit perfectly in ‘Muriwai’ alongside the compositions of MacCrimmon and Mackenzie, the soaring fiddles of ‘Farsund’ and the skirl of the pipes joined to Quebecois fiddle and foot tapping in ‘Les Pieds Joyeux’ combine to prove the point.
‘Astar’ is a treat for your ears that will carry you away. In short, a triumph, nothing less.
Find band and album here: breabach.com
Review: Tim Carroll