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Braw Sailin’ Records CD001BSR

Another new young Scottish band, but one with as strong a group identity as its individual components – Owen Sinclair (acoustic and electric guitars, percussion, vocals), Cameron Ross (fiddle), Becca Skeoch (harp) and Joseph Peach (piano accordion, Fender Rhodes, piano). Tannara’s mission is not to take the easy route to acceptance by blinding listeners with hell-for-leather session tunes – which is however not to say they lack technique or polish; just take the gleefully tricky time-signatures that permeate the opening set (Bill And Jill), which they negotiate without a hitch yet all the while communicate the excitement and achievement of that feat. In common with many young musicians these days, they write a lot of their own tunes, clearly influenced as much by the works of contemporary tune writers as by traditional forms.

Their enthusiasm and drive are most infectious, and I was impressed by the musicians’ assured command of their abilities, getting the musical message across directly yet at the same time leaving space for thought and reflection. Each member of Tannara possesses an amazing tensile strength that encourages bold gestures and risk-taking. Owen’s intensely powerful electric riffing inspires Becca to push the dynamic potential of her harp, while Cameron’s fiddling has a demonic force that ventures darkly beyond fiery and in mad counterpoint with Joseph’s inventive keys. There’s a full, epic quality to the instrumental arrangements, notably on the disc’s three songs, which both feed and feed off the dramatic demeanour and vitality of Owen’s singing; his accounts of Three Ravens and Queen Jane are simply outstanding. The disc’s aptly no-holds-barred production is by Rachel Newton; yes, Trig is a blinder for sure, and a clearly defined landmark high-point.

David Kidman

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This album was reviewed in Issue 116 of The Living Tradition magazine.