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Greentrax Recordings CDTRAX370

The band took their name from Robert Burns’ celebrated volume of work. They are Alex Hodgson – acoustic guitar, Fiona MacKenzie – Kalimba, Lisa Rigby – acoustic guitar and shruti box, Roberto Cassani – upright bass, Stu Clark – percussion and Yvonne Lyon – piano. All six share the vocals. They first came together at the International Burnsong Songhouse in 2009 when, as prizewinners, they were closeted together to write songs for a week. This culminated in a gig in the Scottish Parliament on St Andrews Day. They are all well known singer songwriters in their own right and come from all areas of Scotland and they skillfully weave together the many elements of contemporary Scottish song. They definitely have their roots in Scots folk but manage to bring in strands of jazz, reggae, Gaelic and other world music to produce a new genre of song.

Coma Co Dhiubh (Don’t Care) was written by Fiona when she was thinking about the negative side of people not caring, but then the good – being with someone who doesn’t care that you’re getting old. Roberto wrote Pay It Forward after a night of insomnia – inspiration indeed. Sunshine by Alex occurred after an enjoyable day of writing songs and recording – love the idea of someone stealing the sunshine, rain or moonlight but still finding the rainbow and silver cloud. Women Of The Earth by Lisa is a celebration of the toughness of women but also the men who stand for peace. Isabella, again from Alex is about a wonderful wooden schooner who met her fate near Scateraw on Nov 13th 1888.

Several session musicians join them, and the music is new and fresh – it’s exciting the way it blends cultures and traditions yet remains undoubtedly Scottish. A wonderful sandwich of Gaelic, English and Scots words laid on top of a mix of folk. A meeting of Celtic, Italian and Carribean, with all the passion and humour that they bring. A very listenable album.

Kathy & Bob Drage

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This album was reviewed in Issue 94 of The Living Tradition magazine.