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TEYR - Far From The Tree

TEYR - Far From The Tree
Sleight Of Hand Records SOHR1601CD

Trio ensemble Teyr (Cornish ‘three’, in the feminine form, since you were wondering) are James Gavin (guitar, fiddle), Dominic Henderson (uilleann pipes, whistles) and Tommie Black-Roff (accordion) whose sophisticatedly arrayed arrangements of music and song draw imaginatively on Celtic and other European folk traditions.

With a deeply thoughtful and crafted conceptual approach, evident in their emblematic sycamore seed wing image and the marked articulacy of their explanatory detail about their musical provenance and philosophy (generally and for each track), the 10 pieces presented likewise display a dazzling range of skill in the breadth and interest of their composition, use of dynamics, movement, and melodic and rhythmic detail. As adventurous and exploratory as many of the most innovative contemporary folk groups, Teyr have exceptional ability in realising to the full the sonic and harmonic potentialities of their instruments.

The songs, delivered with acute attention to expressing the emotional content of narrative and theme, comprise Banks Of The Newfoundland (a forebitter or foc’sle song about the chilling rigours of transatlantic passage before steamships), Hosting Of The Sidhe (with lyrics from W.B.Yeats’ The Wind Among The Reeds, ethereally envisioning events involving Ireland’s paranormal spirit community!), Nothing Grows (a contemporary poem about growth and nature), Scottish murder ballad False Lady and Scots bothy ballad Huntley Town.

Having seeded, grown and flown, far now from their tree, this fecund first offering is described as their “first landing”; so, where will the wind take them now? It’ll be worth watching and waiting. This is a remarkably mature and interesting debut.

Kevin T. Ward

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This album was reviewed in Issue 118 of The Living Tradition magazine.