BREABACH – Bann (Breabach Records BRE002CD)

This album reminds me of the first time I encountered The Tannahill Weavers in 1978 having just recruited the wild excesses of piper Alan MacLeod in a musty upstairs room at a pub in Hampstead. The reason I mention this is that at the time the pipes not only fascinated but excited me in much the same way it does on this recording by Breabach. If you haven’t heard the pipes at full throttle in a ‘folk band’ context then I suggest you purchase a copy of this recording at the earliest opportunity! The component parts of the band are; James Lindsay (double bass), Calum MacCrimmon (bagpipes), Ewan Robertson (guitar) and new members James Duncan MacKenzie (bagpipes) and Megan Henderson (fiddle). Everyone lends a hand providing vocals showcased on the track “Scotland’s Winter” although personally I must admit I’m not really sure about the addition of the piobaireachd that follows the song preferring to opt for the “Radio Edit” that finishes the album. Having said that, there’s much to applaud here with thoughtful arrangements particularly on the ensemble instrumental set pieces including a wistful “Farley Bridge” that demonstrates the band’s artful use of subtlety providing as much enjoyment as the more fiery up-tempo numbers.

PETE FYFE

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