Cua (pronounced coo-ah) release their new album, In Flight Off The Islands, on November 25th. You’d probably recognise the genre as Irish/Celtic folk music but sometimes the combination of influences and playing on the album push boundaries further than this. Cua is a trio – John Davidson, Shane Booth and Ros O’Meara – multi-instrumentalists all, mixing guitars, fiddle, bouzouki, percussion and three-part harmonies to create a music they call Atlantean and they describe as world music folk styling.
The video below is ‘Dream Of The Eastern Clan’. Lyrically, the band describe the song as “The recall of three vivid memories that inspired change in life”; musically I keep playing this and am drawn at different playings to the vocal harmony, the acoustic guitar, the fiddle, the eastern European sound and the mix of rhythms. Despite this – because of this? – shift in musical focus, the longish track keeps feels quite short and would make a good extended piece live.
There are two covers on the album: Ewan MacColl’s ‘Tunnel Tigers’, sung acapella, and Turlough O’ Carolan’ ‘Si Beag Si Mor’, a rather lovely instrumental. The other thirteen tracks on the album have been written by the band, a further sign of the trio’s wide-ranging talent.
‘Sweet Liberty’ is one of my favourite tracks on the album, a modern protest song about loss of freedom and another acapella song. ‘Summer Song’ is also instantly likeable, a song imbued with the Irish tradition, even if its inspiration is Edinburgh.
For all my general tendency to gravitate towards words as much as music, my main sense of In Flight Off The Islands is not of its lyrical themes, but of a wonderful set of songs, instrumentals and harmonies which leave me with a gentle, mellow, feeling.
You can catch Cua live between November 27th (Lowdham) and December 12th (Kircaldy).
Artist’s website: https://www.cuamusic.com
‘Dream Of The Eastern Clan’ – official video: