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Coth Records COTHCD009

Based firmly in the East Midlands, Cupola is beginning to make a name for itself with its modern take on traditionally sounding music. Roam is Cupola’s often difficult second CD, but what a good job they have made of it. Weighing in at just under an hour, the 13 tracks show off an eclectic mix of music whilst still maintaining the feeling that this is a complete package.

Cupola consists of Sarah Matthews playing fiddle and viola (amongst others), Doug Eunson on melodeon and hurdy gurdy, and Oli Matthews on all sorts of things you blow. They all sing as well, and they write some of the music too.

You will be familiar with some of the songs on Roam, but these are not hackneyed versions. For me the best of these is Barrack Street, which featured on Nic Jones’ Penguin Eggs - a brave choice indeed.

There’s a strong dance feel to the tunes, which is not surprising given Doug and Sarah’s involvement in the wonderful Stone Monkey Rapper. But it’s not only the tunes, many of which are penned by the band, but also in Following The Old Oss, about the traditional events on May Day in Padstow.

A real gem is John Bright, written by Sarah about the struggle to find the North West Passage. This song was featured on Sarah’s solo album where it was a cappella, but it has been lifted to new heights by being given the full band treatment. There is an unexpected and somewhat surprising choice to finish in Jethro Tull’s Another Christmas Song – but it works. I hope they sing it in all their live performances, no matter what time of year!

It is good to see the attention to detail given to all aspects of production, from excellent clear recording, to informative notes; Elly Lucas provides her usual photos, and there is good design by Sarah, making a product worth looking at - something which is important to make us buy the product rather than download it.

Cupola has come up with a good CD in Roam which should sell well on the strength of their live performances.

Dave Beeby

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This album was reviewed in Issue 111 of The Living Tradition magazine.