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Private Label HEISK01 

One of the things that inspired the band Heisk to form a couple of years ago was their awareness of the relative lack of female representation within the traditional music scene, so they decided to do something about it. One of the results is this eponymous CD, which also has women in production, engineering, design and other creative roles. One day, this may not be uncommon enough to merit a mention, but until that time, every success to their project.

Although they come from all over Scotland, it was the Glasgow scene that brought the musicians together and where their skills flourished. The band comprises Catriona Hawksworth, keys; Lauren Macdonald, kit; Megan Macdonald, accordion; Rosie Munro, fiddle; Sally Simpson, fiddle; and Becca Skeoch, electro harp. They themselves have stated that they wanted to showcase their “festival party vibe” and that’s a cracking description of what you get.

None of the musicians would have been around in the 1970s, but the dance beats of that era are a strong influence on many tracks, particularly Catriona’s self-penned Disco, which blends those rhythms with traditional motifs in an intriguing way. The disco and electronic aspects are quite nuanced, and the overall effect is lively, fresh and innovative. It’s also great to hear a drummer being able to ‘gie it laldy’ without overpowering the others, so an extra tip of the hat to producer Anna Massie and the engineering crew.

With about half of the tracks written by one or other of the band, there’s a nice cohesion of style throughout, making this a fine debut indeed.

Gordon Potter


This review appeared in Issue 141 of The Living Tradition magazine