Posts Tagged ‘breabach’

New issue (August/September 2016) on sale now!

Posted on July 15th, 2016 in News, Recent posts by .

Songlines August/September 2016 Edition

Cape Verdean singer Lura, the Afro-Haitian Experimental Orchestra, singer and multi-instrumentalist Mercedes Peón, Manchester-based group Edward II and more

The August/September (#120) edition is on sale in the UK from today. The free exclusive 15-track covermount CD features ten tracks from our latest Top of the World albums and a guest playlist by English playwright and screenwriter Lee Hall.

Free with every copy is our new 36-page International World Music Festival Guide, the perfect supplement to help get you ready for your next musical adventure.

Featured on the Top of the World CD are new tracks from Portuguese fado singer Ricardo Ribeiro, musician and record producer Quantic, and Trinidadian calypso queen Calypso Rose.


Lura – The Cape Verdean singer Lura talks about her heritage, and why she’s a responsible rebel
Afro-Haitian Experimental Orchestra – Mark Mulholland speaks about his latest musical project and album
Mercedes Peón – The singer and multi-instrumentalist who has single-handedly helped revitalise Galician traditional music
Edward II – The Mancunian band discuss the inspiration behind their latest project
Breabach – We catch up with the Scottish five-piece in France in the midst of an astounding world tour

Beginner's Guide to Oumou Sangaré

Oumou Sangaré – A Beginner’s Guide to the Malian singer and her iconic discography
Lee Hall – A playlist and interview with the English playwright and screenwriter, who talks about his love of music
The Grit Orchestra – The ambitious orchestral project dedicated to the late musician Martyn Bennett

PLUS! Reviews of the latest CD, book and world cinema releases.

Click here to buy the new issue.

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Breabach – Astar | Album Review | Top of the World

Posted on April 10th, 2016 in Recent posts, Reviews by .


Words by Billy Rough

Breabach - Astar Cover

Scots strings, pipes and whistles go global

Astar, meaning distance or journey, is a fitting title for Breabach’s new album. Incorporating influences, and guests, from all around the world, including Norway, Québec, Australia and New Zealand, Astar finds the band in confident multicultural mood. With its strong mix of original compositions and well-chosen covers, the album sees Breabach stretching their wings and developing into a formidable talent.

‘Muriwai’, for example, merges the pipes and whistles of Calum MacCrimmon and James Mackenzie over a Maori haka with a remarkably powerful effect. ‘The White Sands of Jervis Bay’ takes a traditional song from Northern Australia, ‘Guku Manikay’, and sensitively links it with one of MacCrimmon’s originals. Similarly ‘Les Pieds Joyeux’ takes a Québécois tune and layers it with Breabach’s characteristic verve. ‘The Ramparts’, on the other hand, is undoubtedly Scottish – with fiery pipes and a pulsating, sweaty, rhythm. The album closes with ‘The Last March’, a sweet Cape Breton tune.

With Scottish rhythms and melodies still at the root of their sound, Astar sees Breabach in an electrifying new phase – one that illustrates the band’s strength and interest in experimentation. Exhilarating, energetic and accomplished Astar is a rare, beautiful treat.

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Top of the World May 2016: The best new releases

Posted on April 1st, 2016 in Recent posts, Reviews by .

Our selection of the top ten new releases reviewed in the May (#117) issue.

Konono No 1 & Batida
Konono No 1 Meets Batida (Crammed Discs)

Konono No1 & Batida - Konono No1 Meets Batida Cover

Five years since their last album, the innovative Grammy-winning group Konono No 1 are back and are joined by Portuguese-Angolan DJ Batida on this hypnotising collaborative effort.

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Snowboy & The Latin Section
New York Afternoon (Snowboy Records)


With an illustrious discography going back to the late 80s, conguero Mark ‘Snowboy’ Cotgrove and his group release their first album on his eponymous label.

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Astar (Breabach Records)

Breabach - Astar Cover

Scottish group Breabach return with a new album packed full of global musical influences from their travels. A mix of original compositions and covers, Astar exhibits a new, exciting direction.

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La Yegros
Magnetismo (Soundway Records)

La Yegros - Magnetismo Cover

Argentinian nu cumbia singer La Yegros is accompanied by some noteworthy guests on her commanding and rhythmical sophomore album.

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Michael Messer’s Mitra
Call of the Blues (Knife Edge Records)

Michael Messer's Mitra - Call of The Blues Cover

Michael Messer’s Mitra transform Mississippi blues songs with Hindustani sensitivities for a delightful project that was mostly recorded live.

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Kris Drever
If Wishes Were Horses (Reveal Records)


A solo album from Lau’s Kris Drever, this showcases what may be Drever’s best work yet, with insightful lyrics penned against a backdrop of warm instrumentation.

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Veretski Pass with Joel Rubin
Poyln: A Gilgul (Golden Horn Records)


Traditional Polish and Jewish music are brought together and masterfully executed on a memorable album by Veretski Pass and Joel Rubin.

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Group Ekanzam
Every Song Has its End: Sonic Dispatches from Traditional Mali (Glitterbeat)

Every Song Has Its End - Cover

The diverse nature of Malian traditional music is showcased across 12 tracks gathered by Bamako-based producer Paul Richard Chandler.



Lakou Mizik
Wa Di Yo (Cumbancha)


Lakou Mizik’s debut is a passionate tribute to the people and culture of Haiti. Formed in the aftermath of the country’s 2010 earthquake, the collective deliver a project of celebration and hope.

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Full Attack Band
1001 (Full Attack Band)


Argentinian saxophonist Alejandro Toledo leads a new life in a new band, one that showcases a firm strength, fervour and clear experience in their musical arrangements.

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The Songlines Essential 10: Scottish Albums

Posted on September 17th, 2014 in News, Recent posts by .


Words by Jo Frost

On the eve of the Scottish independence vote, what better time to highlight some of our current favourite Scottish albums? 

Martyn Bennett – Grit (Real World Gold, 2014)
Recently reissued including two previously unreleased tracks, this album by the late young Scottish maverick is a testament to his spirit and untamed musical approach to mixing up traditional Gaelic songs with techno beats. This is an album to get you bouncing around the kitchen, try out the track on this issue’s covermount CD.

Breabach – Ùrlar (Breabach Records, 2013)
Recently featured as part of Boomerang (in #101), together with indigenous Maori and Aboriginal musicians, the young quintet have deservedly proved themselves worthy recipients of the Scots Trad Music Award for Best Group. Their combination of new and traditional material, bagpipes and vocals has proved a winning formula. Reviewed in #98.

Capercaillie – At the Heart of it All (Vertical Records, 2013)
The doyens of the Scottish trad scene, who celebrated their 30th anniversary at this year’s Celtic Connections festival. Lead singer Karen Matheson and husband Donald Shaw recently featured in the Commonwealth Games closing ceremony, proving they’re still very much at the forefront of Scottish music. Reviewed in #96.

Duncan Chisholm – Live at Celtic Connections (Copperfish, 2013)
It is very difficult to single out one album from Chisholm’s superb Strathglass Trilogy (Affric, Farrar, Canaich), so instead try this live album of the fiddler performing tracks from all three albums together with his band, at Glasgow’s Kelvingrove Art Gallery during Celtic Connections. Coincidentally Duncan Chisholm also features on Benedetti’s latest album, see p36. Reviewed in #98. 

Julie Fowlis – Gach Sgeul – Every Story (Machair Records, 2014)
A Songlines cover star earlier this year (#99), the Gaelic singer also features on Benedetti’s album, performing a traditional waulking song. Fowlis’ latest release stays true to the very heart of the Gaelic tradition and it’s a beautiful collection of songs, showcasing her talent in puirt à beul – the incredibly fast ‘mouth music’ vocal style from the Highlands. Reviewed in #99.

Lau – Race the Loser (Reveal Records, 2012)
OK, admittedly they’re only two-thirds Scottish but accordionist Martin Green is practically a Scot, having lived north of the border for some time. The trio excel when it comes to their thrilling live performances, winning them numerous Radio 2 Folk Awards. This latest offering is as innovative and exciting as their debut, Lightweights & Gentlemen. Reviewed in #88.

Karine Polwart – Traces (Hegri Records, 2012)
There’s something about Polwart’s understated yet poignant singing that really hooks you in. Beautiful melodies and incisive lyrics on songs inspired by subjects as diverse as the Occupy movement protests to Donald Trump’s controversial golf course plans. One of Scotland’s finest contemporary songwriters, Polwart also gets brownie points for her love of birds – Hegri, the name of her label, is the Gaelic word for heron. Reviewed in #87.

Patsy Reid – The Brightest Path (Classy Trad Records, 2014)
The young fiddler cut her teeth with Breabach, but since leaving the group, she’s become one of the UK’s most in-demand musicians, with appearances in the Cecil Sharp Project, VAMM and Kathryn Tickell’s Northumbrian Voices project. Her latest solo release sees her mixing up both self-written and traditional material and also showcases her fine vocal skills too. Reviewed in #99.

Salsa Celtica – The Tall Islands (Discos Leon, 2014)
And now for something completely different – Scottish ceilidh meets Latino salsa. The pioneering group started off as a bunch of mates jamming in a club in Edinburgh (see Beginner’s Guide in #98) and since then they’ve got audiences up and dancing around the world, most recently in Colombia where they made their debut appearance earlier this year. An album guaranteed to get you in a party mood. Reviewed in #99.

Various Artists – Transatlantic Sessions 6 (Whirlie Records, 2014)
Again, not a strictly purely Scottish affair, but the incredibly successful concept of bringing a range of leading folk musicians from the UK and Ireland together with a host of talent from across the pond was masterminded by Shetland fiddler Aly Bain. Plus the recording sessions take place in the Highlands. If you’re a fan of the BBC TV series, then you’ll love this album – the latest release that highlights why the series is the best music programme on TV and has been such a hit. Reviewed in #99.

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