Review Archive

Ùrlar from Breabach - living heritage and fresh innovation

(October 13, 2013)

An enlivening of the soul always accompanies the skirl of the pipes – even for a sassenach, and the latest urlarFINALrelease Ùrlar from Breabach does that and more. Broadly a collection of trad-arranged and self-penned material this album continues to prove that Breabach’s blend of living heritage and fresh innovation remains a lodestone for Scottish folk.

The mix of course stretches far beyond the pipes – there’s Megan Henderson on fiddle and vocals, James Lindsay with double bass, Calum MacCrimmon plays bagpipes, whistles and bouzouki, James Duncan Mackenzie on bagpipes and flutes, with Ewan Robertson guitar and cajon.

During recent returns to their hometowns the band members explored the abundance of remembered tunes and songs known among family and friends to forge the magic that became Ùrlar. Perhaps that’s why this album holds its magnetic attraction. You’re there among the band, sharing the inheritance, reveling in the inspiration, soothed and envigorated.

The breadth of this album is entrancing - pipe-driven energy with ‘The Poetic Milkman’ moving into Megan’s evocative vocal through the deep-seated longing of ‘Hi Ho Ro Tha Mi Duilich’ the gentle reflection on fate in ‘Forvie Sands’ and the burst of potency that courses through ‘Monday Night at Riccardo’s’. By contrast there’s themelancholy ‘The Orangedale Whistle’ - a stunning Canadian narrative that examines the effect of change, while the defiance and sadness of ‘The Seven Men of Knoydart’ is riveting in its truth. Fast or slow, traditional or progressive, the shape and substance of Ùrlar will move you.

Released on 21st October 2013 through Proper Distribution & Highlander Distribution - you can find out more here:

Reviewer: Dan Holland

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