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BULLY’S ACRE - The Twelve Pinsbb

BULLY’S ACRE - The Twelve Pins
Big Beat Music BBM002

Bully’s Acre is the unofficial name given to the Hospital Fields area of Dublin, a public cemetery, but there’s nothing dead (or deadly) about the trio who has adopted the name. The group comprises Peter Browne, a Dubliner button accordion wizard; Lucas Gonzáles, Argentinian guitarist; and in-demand percussionist Robbie Harris.

As you might imagine with backgrounds as varied as theirs, these lads are interested in the exploration of music drawn from many traditions, seeing how to create fusion and innovation in dynamic and riveting ways. Peter’s formal study of jazz shows through in his improvisational style, as does Lucas’ Conservatoire studies in his native land, Switzerland and Ireland. These do at first reading appear to be completely different ways to approach the music, but, trust me, what comes out of the mix is fascinatingly different from what lots of more mainstream groups are playing these days.

The album consists of tunes drawn from various sources, chiefly Irish traditional or modern compositions in the traditional style; there are also a bulerías and a slow air composed by Lucas, and an American bluegrass waltz. The individuality of the group hits you right from the start with a different direction altogether, in the mysteriously-titled 7, which is an interpretation of a Bulgarian folk dance, neatly referred to as “asymmetrical” which means time signatures that are subject to change without notice! Fearsomely difficult to play as a tune like that may be, Bully’s Acre make it sound like it’s no bother at all.

An intriguing and very enjoyable package indeed.

Gordon Potter

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This album was reviewed in Issue 108 of The Living Tradition magazine.