OBSERVER reporters Aaron Wise and Joshua Godfrey were recently invited to The Fleece Inn, Bretforton to review Scottish folk band, Breabach, as part of the historic pub’s ‘Scottish sessions.’
The atmospheric 15th century barn was the intimate setting for the contemporary folk group to perform their new album, ‘Astar,’ – which means distance/journey in Gaelic.
During the evening we were taken on a journey of countries around the world the band had visited over the last five years to inspire new multicultural pieces for their fifth studio album.
Infused with instrumental influences from Norway, Quebec, Australia and New Zealand the music reminded us how distant sounds from different cultures can transcend any barrier.
Including the talents of Calum MacCrimmon on the Highland bagpipes, Ewan Robertson on the guitar and lead vocals, James Mackenzie on the flute, Megan Henderson on the fiddle and lead vocals and James Lindsay on the double bass the group performed on the back of winning ‘Folk Band of the Year’ and ‘Album of Year’ at the 2016 Scots Trad Music Awards.
From ‘Les Pieds Joyeux,’ which is inspired by the Quebecois foot tapping tradition, to ‘Coisich A’ Ruin,’ a Gaelic song folk tale, the album struck up the careful balance between calming reflection to feet tapping jigs.
‘Astar’ also included ‘The Last March’ which is thought to be the last melody composed by the late highly revered and influential composer, John Morris Rankin.
Add to this mellow piece to the uplifting and joyful sound of ‘Mo Thruaighe Leir Thu ‘Ille Bhuidhe’ which tells us the tale of whisky smuggling, covers the wide spectrum of Scottish folk.
Not only did their music take us on a journey, but the anecdotes the band members shared before each song enabled us to visualise the inspiration behind each unique track.
Produced and released by renowned musician Greg Lawson, ‘Astar’ made us feel inspired, thoughtful, uplifted and joyous in one evening – the perfect excuse for a post-gig whisky.
Whether you’re a serious fan of Scottish folk, or newbies like us, Breabach offers a tune for everyone.
We would highly recommend anyone who loves their folk music to buy this album.