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BOREAS - Ahoy Hoy

BOREAS - Ahoy Hoy
Isle Music ISLE04CD

Originally formed by Lori Watson from Scotland and Norwegian hardanger fiddle player, Britt Pernille Frøholm, Boreas have added accordionist Irene Tillung, also from Norway, and Rachel Newton, the Scottish harpist, to their line-up. All four are highly respected and competent musicians, and Boreas is as good as the sum of its parts. Each seems to push their instrument to its limit, producing some weird and wonderful sounds, but nowhere does it become just showing off.

The track which seems to sum up Ahoy Hoy is The Happy Set - as you can imagine, it encapsulates the feeling of fun and enjoyment which went into the making of this CD. There are traditional tunes and songs alongside newly written pieces, as well as a Ewan MacColl song, sounding as fresh as if it was written yesterday. I love the treatment of Braw Sailin’, with additional lyrics and a completely new verse. The ringing fiddle on the opening of Claret is wonderful, but there is more to come as the set opens out. Rachel’s harp emerges from a drone like backing on Rudl to provide yet another highlight as the accordion takes over the tune. The CD comes to an end with a stunning traditional song, Nam Bu Leam Fhin Thu, Thalaidhean Thu, translated as If You Were Mine I Would Lull You, but, as usual, sounding much better in the original than in English!

There’s a freshness to the arrangement of the tunes by the band, all of which are shown off to the full by some clear recording and production. Ahoy Hoy comes well packaged, with lyrics and translations of the songs - something I always appreciate. It is a very good listen and I just hope Boreas are able to take this out on the road as I am sure live performance will lead to good sales.

Dave Beeby

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This album was reviewed in Issue 113 of The Living Tradition magazine.