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BREABACH - Frenzy Of The Meeting  

BREABACH - Frenzy Of The Meeting  
Private Label BRE005CD  

Named for an old piobaireachd, this CD is a little shorter than Breabach's previous recordings, but it's packed with good stuff and feels more up-tempo than some of those other releases. Pipe tunes, fiddle tunes, Gaelic songs and mouth music, waulking rhythms, and several new compositions give Frenzy Of The Meeting a wide appeal. The unsurpassed musicianship of this quintet, their compelling arrangements and their ability to blend instrumentals and vocals in new and exciting ways, make this album a non-stop delight and a definite contender for my 2018 Top Ten. I had some reservations about the lyrics on the two English sings, but even these have grown on me with their LAU-like moods and multi-layered harmonies.

My ancestral home of Eriskay is honoured on Prince's Strand by James Duncan Mackenzie, making full use of the Cinderella instruments in Breabach's arsenal: flute, whistle and James Lindsay's versatile upright bass. Pipes and fiddle soon make their presence felt on Knees Up In Hanoi: and speaking of princesses, Megan Henderson's Gaelic vocals are now a key ingredient of the Breabach sound, putting her at least on a par with vocalists Robertson and MacCrimmon, and marking her as one of the finest singers of her generation. Her delivery of Dòchas Glan Na Fàire is spine-tingling, and her clear voice on the puirt a'beul piece An E Mo Chur Fohad? hardly misses a note. The band's instrumentals are equally impressive: the cheery Western Isle Dance, some heavyweight piping on The Oban Ball, and the growling title track based on a funky fiddle tune. The final Òran Bhràigh Rùsgaich is another stunning song from Megan, beautifully arranged by Breabach, a powerful end to an exceptional CD. 

Alex Monaghan

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This album was reviewed in Issue 126 of The Living Tradition magazine.