Fiddlers' Bid - Naked and Bare
Greentrax Recordings CDTRAX277

There’s something beautiful about the sound of fiddles and viola played as one, and when augmented by harp, piano, acoustic and bass guitar, the effect is seductive. Fiddlers’ Bid prove why they’re so highly regarded with another exquisite, cohesive album of first rate original compositions and traditional tunes from Shetland, Sweden, Spain, Ireland and the Faroes – this music commands your full attention. Catriona McKay’s harp and Fionán De Barra’s guitar add a playful undercurrent, and when McKay turns to piano (as on ‘The Tangerine Dream’), her playing drives these tunes along – the album flows easily.

Tunes such as ‘Naked & Bare’ (where Stout’s viola lends huge poignancy to the arrangement) and ‘Macklins Vals From Orsa’ radiate poise and a quiet beauty; fiddle is enhanced by crafted harp and guitar. ‘TrØila Knowe’ is the ultimate dance set, pure joy to listen to, and delivered with orchestral panache – it’s peppered with thrilling tempo changes that the best Celtic bands carry off so brilliantly. That orchestral ambience is again evident in the sublime ‘FØroyar Tune’, based on a Faroese wedding tune – the ensemble of fiddles seems to ‘ring’ with bright clarity.

There’s not a single track here that is below par – this band is at the top of its profession. Andrew Gifford and Chris Stout continue to write top quality tunes that should become future standards. Sound engineer Stuart Hamilton has captured perfectly the band’s huge, bright sound. Exceptionally enjoyable and stirring listening - an album that does such justice to the Shetland tradition.

Debbie Koritsas

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The Listening Post is the CD mailorder service of The Living Tradition magazine.
This album was reviewed in Issue 64 of The Living Tradition magazine.