|22 × 16 × .50 cm
35 Degrees South –
by Roger Holdsworth
Eilean Mòr challenges your assumptions about celtic music – particularly that based in the Scots Gaelic tradition.
First, there’s the sound.
The percussion and bass that is the basis for the sound of this group take the rhythms of even the most expected celtic songs off in unexpected directions.
Sometimes the group’s whole sound is pared back to the duo of Jon Jones and Bill Williams respectively.
There’s a strong jazz influence and even hints of Arabic beats.
Similarly, the fiddling of Chris Stone can dart between expected celtic ornamentations, but then can also throw in a raw sound more reminiscent of country styles from Spain or the southern USA.
Sure there’s mouth music (puirt-a-beul) and waulking songs as we might expect, but Ruth Lee Martin’s vocals are also as likely to present her own diverse songs or local ballads.
Bill Grose’s experienced guitar holds all of this together and it’s not surprising to hear of his other cross-cultural collaborations with Drum Drum and with Balinese musicians, as well as his work backing performances and recordings of Irish and Scottish singers and players in Australia.
The band has recently returned from a highly successful 12-concert tour of Scotland, including the highlands, the islands and a festival in Skye.
There, in reviewing one of their concerts, traditional Scottish singer Sheena Wellington drew attention to Eilean Mòr’s “eclectic mix of jazz bass, lyrical guitar, fiddle that has a touch of Klezmer and a fair bit of Grappelli and a fine singer who brings a bluesy edge to Gaelic and Scots song”.
35 Degrees South is a highly competent, engaging and challenging CD from some great Canberra-based musicians.
9 in stock (can be backordered)