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NUA - Flow

NUA - Flow
Private Label

There is more than one group sporting the word Nua - or “new” - in its name. This is the second album by the Canadian trio of that ilk and a very fine effort it is too. It is also one of those recordings where the finished product is far more interesting than the breakdown of who plays what suggests it is going to be.

The trio from Toronto have a line-up which consists of Graeme McGillivray (guitars, etc), James Law (fiddle) and Jacob McCauley (bodhrán). If that sounds a little heavy in the rhythm section, fear not, because the bodhrán is played with such dexterity and subtlety that it almost counts as the carrier of an extra melody line. That helps to balance what would otherwise be very much James Law's album. He has a style of his own, specifically Canadian, but separate from the robust French-Canadian tradition.

Nua's reference points are in the Scots and Irish music they heard in their youth, although this collection is entirely self-composed. That could be just a tad repetitive if it was not for their sublime playing, in the same way that another of the scene's shorter named trios, Lau, could be, if it was all about the musicianship and nothing else. The track Rest In Pineapple/ The Rushin' Draggin' is a good example of how they keep the mix fresh and varied, especially when they phase in some irresistible flamenco-style clapping.

There is a lot going on here and the Toronto Nua are well worth a listen, or better still, seeing live.

Dave Hadfield

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This album was reviewed in Issue 120 of The Living Tradition magazine.