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Higlet Recordings HGR142

This debut album from Crossharbour, a new band which has emerged from the London traditional Irish scene, mixes traditional tunes and songs with self penned material. Much of the material is fixed firmly, and built around, the flute playing of multi All Ireland Champion Órlaith McAuliffe. Fiddle is provided by Sam Proctor, who a few years back received some measure of acclaim for his solo work, whilst Philippe Barnes provides guitar for most of the CD. Completing the core of the band is bódhran player Tad Sargent, who also proves to be quite good on the bouzouki.

A year ago Crossharbour was an instrumental band making an appearance at Southwell Festival, when a chance encounter over food with a 2013 young folk awards finalist led to a slight change of direction. A year later and Rosie Hodgson was up there on stage with them and provides some interesting vocals on Crossharbour.

I really like the variety there is here, mostly led by flute, but also fiddle and all sympathetically accompanied by the guitar and bódhran. Rosie provides an extra dimension to what would have already been a good piece of work. I really enjoyed the haunting sounds on Path Into The Woods, a song showing Rosie’s song writing ability whilst Voldemort’s is a great set of tunes.

Production and recording is excellent with good clear definition of all instruments and vocals. Crossharbour has made an interesting debut in this self titled CD, which I am sure will sell well at live performances. Talking of live performances, I thoroughly enjoyed their main stage set at Southwell this year, although they need to give Rosie something to do during the instrumentals to make her truly part of the band. An enjoyable first release.

Dave Beeby

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This album was reviewed in Issue 103 of The Living Tradition magazine.