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VARIOUS ARTISTS - Young Trad Tour 2018 

VARIOUS ARTISTS - Young Trad Tour 2018 

These seven talented young musicians include the winner of the 2017 BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician Award (fiddler Charlie Stewart), the 2018 winner (singer Hannah Rarity), and the other 2018 finalists. In one track each and three ensemble pieces Young Trad Tour 2018 presents a very broad and healthy picture of Scottish traditional music. I've seen most of these performers live in the last few months, and I can tell you they are just as good in front of an audience as they are on this polished studio recording. Two pipers, two singers, fiddle, guitar and piano is a great combination for a ceilidh, and this CD certainly delivers high quality entertainment.

The opening set led by pipes and fiddle is a great start: the old strathspey Back Of The Change House feeds into a modern reel by Canadian piper Bruce Gandy and another by revered composer G S McLennan. The first song is a version of Tae The Begging similar to Ossian's 1982 recording, with at least three voices chipping in. Luc McNally, also known for his singing, bosses a bevvy of fingerpicked jigs reminiscent of Dick Gaughan, including one written for him by Boston fiddle fury Madeleine Stewart. Rory Matheson produces a clear highlight, a storming piano solo on The Mathematician and one of Ian Carr's jazzy pieces.

Amy Papiransky is a new voice to me, sweetly singing her autobiographical song, Sunnyside, to introduce a gentler section with firebrand Ali Levack's surprising slow air, Woodlands Drive, on low whistles and Hannah's solo, Strong Women Rule Us All, in calmer mood than McNeill or Gaughan interpretations. Charlie leans into a couple of contemporary Scots tunes on fiddle, his own Josie And Pablo's (probably a cheap wedding present) and Allan Henderson's expensive-sounding jig, Thursday Night In The Caley. It's all in for one more song, The Rothes Colliery, and then the last track falls to piper David Shedden: a nice progression of reels, from slow to supersonic. Bags of talent, plenty of variety, and a well-designed sleeve too: you can't go wrong with this one!

Alex Monaghan


This review appeared in Issue 132 of The Living Tradition magazine