EABHAL – This Is How The Ladies Dance (own label EAB01)

This Is How The Ladies DanceI shouldn’t need to tell you that This Is How The Ladies Dance is the debut album by another talented and frighteningly young Scottish band. Kaitlin Ross, Megan MacDonald, Nicky Kirk, Jamie MacDonald and Hamish Hepburn came together on South Uist and as Eabhal they revive old tunes, write new tunes, borrow good tunes and add a few songs.

The opening track, ‘Beiridh Soiridh Soiridh Bhuam’ combines a waulking song with a new tune and is a bright sparkling start. Kaitlin has a pretty, slightly breathy voice but then has to sit down without so much as a tambourine to bash which strikes me as a waste of talent. Jamie wrote all three tunes in the second set, ‘MaSim’, and ‘Lads’ combines an Irish traditional tune, one from Quebec and another by Jamie whose fiddle is the dominant instrument although I have to single out the contributions of Hamish on pipes, flute and whistles throughout the album.

Hamish Napier is becoming a favourite writer for bands seeking material and ‘Windsong’ gives both Hamish and Nicky their moment in the spotlight. ‘An Ribhinn Donn’ is built on Megan’s pulsing accordion before the pipes take over and finally Kaitlin is back for a couple of minutes. The title set is a medley of pipe tunes from the west coast and now Kaitlin has something to get her teeth into with the Irish song, ‘Cáit I nGarráin A Bhile’, which Eabhal accompany quietly and sensitively followed by a splendid set of three more traditional songs, ‘Cairistion Nighean Eòghainn’. The album closes with another bright and breezy tune, ‘The Artist’.

If I have to criticise – and it is my job – I would tinker with the sequencing and give Kaitlin more to do. Apart from that, this is another fine debut.

Dai Jeffries

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‘MaSim’ – live: