When it comes to bands of longevity, Scottish folk ensemble the Battlefield Band are the business and have just taken on an exciting new young recruit in, Ewen Henderson (fiddle, bagpipes, vocals, piano). As he now stands alongside Mike Katz (bagpipes, whistles, bouzouki, guitar, bass, vocals), Alasdair White (fiddle, whistle, bouzouki, bagpipes) and Sean O’Donnell (vocals, guitar, cittern) in what is said to be Scotland’s answer to Ireland’s mercurial Chieftains band. Who are we to challenge the claim, in fact, though wonderful and greatly admired the Chieftains don’t always posses the warmth and flexibility of the Scottish band.A point highlighted here through the boys playing the singing of the impressive O’Donnell. As new and old folk standards plus, a fabulous version of the Otis Redding soul classic ‘That’s How Strong My Love Is’ are aired. Decorated in fiddles, guitar and whistle the splendid vocals the latter cries out to be heard again and again as O’Donnell aided by supportive vocal harmonies goes on to near make it his own possession!
Wonderfully relaxed, the players they never over-reach. For the music is awash in rich subtle textures and a warmth that reaches the heart and soul of the listener. No flash, no trash just people playing music rich in the traditions of old aided by keen young ears. That knows what does and doesn’t work. Like a jigsaw puzzle all that they do fits with nothing surplus, no over-spills or unnecessary frills or efforts to ‘fix’ working parts!
Among other highlights I would have to go for instrumentals ‘Glen Caladh Castle’, ‘The Great Herring’, a bright ‘n breezy, pipes aided ‘Me N’Vin Belek, Na Manac’h’ and the beautiful air ‘Iain Ghlinn’ Cuaich’ that features some wondrous and most sensitive, fiddle and piano. ‘Mo Ghleannan Taobh Loch Liobhainn’ that is sung in Gaelic likewise possesses a beauty matching the scenic landscape as it speaks of the North Argyll and Fort William area. Fancy a trip —the scenery is great and the music is even better.
Add a Comment