A pur­ple patch bristling with ex­cite­ment

Al­bum of the Week

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - MUSIC REVIEWS - SIOB­HÁN LONG

BE­G­LEY McKAY STOUT Be­g­ley McKay Stout McKay Stout Mu­sic

Some­times the magic hap­pens when you least ex­pect it. Scot­tish fid­dle and harp duo Chris Stout and Ca­tri­ona McKay ven­tured to un­der­take an Ir­ish tour with Sea­mus Be­g­ley, whom they’d long ad­mired, and what emerged from the union has proven to be a rev­e­la­tion both in the stu­dio and on the road.

Fol­low­ing the tri­umph of that re­cent tour (where the del­i­cacy of Be­g­ley’s voice was beau­ti­fully cir­cum­nav­i­gated by McKay’s glo­ri­ously hip-swiv­el­ling harp rhythms and by the deep troughs of Stout’s fid­dle lines), the trio have left a rich be­quest. It’s a pur­ple patch for all three that’s wor­thy of ex­plo­ration. Take their mar­riage of Lay­bourne’s Horn­pipe with the reel McFadden’s Hand­some Daugh­ter: both share a lop­ing, im­pro­vi­sa­tional qual­ity rooted in an en­ergy that pro­pels the tunes on­wards. Be­g­ley’s song choices are wor­thy of the at­ten­tion af­forded them in ar­range­ment: the opener, An­nan Wa­ters, basks in the warmth of Stout and McKay’s strings, its richly By­ronic lyri­cism thrown into sharp re­lief by the del­i­cacy of Stout’s vi­ola. Ca­tri­ona McKay’s pos­ses­sion of the harp is with­out com­pare, bristling with vi­tal­ity and rhyth­mic in­ten­sity. Stout and Be­g­ley’s duet on Rowin’ Foula Doon mines the emo­tional depths of a sea­far­ing tra­di­tion of that Shet­land Is­land where fish­er­men rowed out un­til they were no longer able to see the cliffs of Foula. Their vo­cals make cosy bed­fel­lows. Stout and McKay have re­cently re­leased a mar­itime-themed al­bum of newly com­posed mu­sic, Seavaigers. Now, they ex­plore sim­i­lar sea­far­ing themes, but in the company of an ac­cor­dion­ist and singer whose reach is as wide as it is wel­com­ing. This is mu­sic of the mo­ment: bristling with the ex­cite­ment of newly minted ca­ma­raderie and bolt­ing to­wards the door for the wide open spa­ces it craves. And yet, there’s a fi­nesse to the col­lec­tion. mck­aystout­mu­sic.co.uk

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Ireland

© PressReader. All rights reserved.