RANT is the meeting of four of Scotland’s finest fiddle players: two from the Shetland Islands and two from the Highlands. Their third album, The Portage, was recorded over four days in the renowned Mackintosh Queen’s Cross, the only church in the world to be designed by architect, artist and designer Charles Rennie Mackintosh. This space was the ideal setting to capture what RANT do best; showcasing the rich resonance of their four fiddles in various tunings and textures in a stark, honest recording.
Bethany Reid, Jenna Reid, Lauren MacColl and Anna Massie join forces to create a sound which is both rich and lush, yet retaining all the bite and spark synonymous with a Scottish fiddle player. Using just their fiddles, they weave a tapestry of melodies, layers and sounds. Known for their work as soloists and with various bands, this is a celebration of the instrument they all have a passion for.
Since the release of their debut album RANT in 2013, which won them critical acclaim in the form of a Herald Angel Award for outstanding performance across all the Edinburgh Festivals , the band have made major festival and concert appearances across the UK, Ireland and Scandinavia. They provided strings for Julie Fowlis’ Gach Sguel album, and their music has been used for both BBC and ITV national television programmes.
Their live set reflects the years of honing their sound together and their love for their home areas of Shetland and the Highlands through the writing, repertoire and stories. The name The Portage comes from a composition of Bethany’s relating to her home village of Quarff in Shetland, which translates as ‘the portage’ in Old Norse.
Being located at a very narrow point of land on the islands, the area was long used for carrying boats and goods from the east coast (North Sea) to the west (Atlantic), avoiding a sea-journey of almost 40 miles. The artwork for The Portage is an original painting by Shetland-based landscape artist Ruth Brownlee.
Artists’ website: www.rantfiddles.com
‘JT’s’ – live at Celtic Connections: