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BAND OF BURNS - The Thread 

BAND OF BURNS - The Thread 
Ord Ban Music 

The poems and songs of Robert Burns inspire people worldwide with their life-affirming humanity. The Band Of Burns, all 12 of them, is helping to spread the love by releasing this studio album and doing live dates around the laddie’s birthday. The members are from Scotland, England, Wales, Ireland and Turkey. Coming two years after their Live At The Union Chapel album, this is a 61-minute celebration in styles ranging from lush strings through Balkan and gypsy rhythms to folk rock. Would Burns have minded the mixing and matching? Not at all. He was pretty good at it himself.

Rioghnach Connolly takes the singing honours for me, with a gorgeous version of Now Westlin Winds. Dila Vardar, whose band The Odd Beats has a growing reputation in the UK, gives us a lively Charlie Is My Darling. The martial arrangement of Parcel O’ Rogues is a nice contrast with its story of surrender. The Slave’s Lament is sung and arranged by Mikey Kenney, complete with ululations. You’ll know these songs, and some of the others, but To Ruin has been put to music for the first time by John Langan. Instrumental breaks include Highlander’s, with border pipes from Dave Tunstall and fiddling from Mikey, Lewis Murray and the producer Alastair Caplin.

Despite some loss of focus towards the end, this is a very likeable album from a talented gathering bound by the thread which Burns has woven. They are busy people, with busy bands of their own, so catch them if you can.

Tony Hendry


This review appeared in Issue 132 of The Living Tradition magazine