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DOSCA - Meridian

DOSCA - Meridian
Private Label DOSCA01CD

Young Scottish six-piece Dosca made quite an impact at 2015’s Celtic Connections, since which time they’ve been carving a name on the circuit as a must-see act. Meridian is their debut album and, coming almost three years after their eponymous 2015 EP, expectations are bound to be high. Fortunately they’re not disappointed with this energy-fuelled set, which was launched just a few months ago at this year’s Celtic Connections. The band’s line-up consists of James Harper (bagpipes), Joe Armstrong (flute), BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician of 2017 Charlie Stewart (fiddle), Luc McNally of Sketch (guitar, bouzouki), Young Scottish Jazz Musician of the Year 2017 David Bowden (bass) and Stephen Henderson (drum kit). They also beef up the sound with three brass players on two tracks.

Eight out of the 10 tracks are instrumental, typically alert and alive – but also thoughtful – arrangements of mainly contemporary tunes composed in the tradition by the likes of Brian Finnegan, Finlay MacDonald and Niall Vallely, as well as a couple of tunes by group members. From the measured slow-reel-rock beat of The Sunday Club to the jazzy Jump For Joy and the more driven pace of pipe tune Jimmy’s, the Dosca sound and interplay are invigorating; and happily, the heavy-duty rhythm section reinforces rather than dominates, and the combined presence of the six musicians is suitably formidable though not overbearing. Flautist Joe’s also a strong (though under-used) singer, handling lead vocal duties on the album’s two songs (Arthur McBride, Pound A Week Rise).

David Kidman

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This album was reviewed in Issue 124 of The Living Tradition magazine.