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TANNARA - Strands 

TANNARA - Strands 
Braw Sailin’ Records CD006BSR 

Following their debut, Trig, in 2016, this Scottish quartet’s new release, launched at this year’s Celtic Connections Festival, offers a more markedly refined outcome that ably and adroitly interfuses a wide palette of musical elements.

Owen Sinclair (guitar, vocals), Robbie Greig (fiddle), Becca Skeoch (harp) and Joseph Peach (accordion, keyboards) present eight jointly arranged original pieces (including three songs, one with lyrics by Les Sullivan) with guests Josie Duncan (backing vocals) and Mattie Foulds (percussion). Martin Green is credited for “production advice, guidance and buckfast” and there are recognisably Lau-like qualities to the general musical manoeuvrability and, in particular perhaps, the vocal delivery in the noticeably sparser and strikingly soulful songs.

Tannara’s essentially melodic material is rich in its tonal variety and sequentially switching, shifting and swirling movement, both within the arrangements of individual pieces and tune sets. Energetic multi-layered passages evolve easily into graceful and emotive adagio movements and there are pleasing and appealing developments aplenty within the compositions. Low end, electronic synthesised heft is some spectral range away from airy filigree harp; both appear here though, sometimes in combination, and skilled use of sonic effects on the players’ instrumentation allows them to explore a wide gamut of options in between.

The Scottish music scene is busily buzzing with Celtic inflected instrumental groups. Tannara’s use of harp, often elegantly arpeggiating against the expressive fiddle work, gives them a distinctively differentiating quality and the band’s particularly effective use of found sound and samples (including interviews from the School of Scottish Studies in the 1970s), too, provides evocative atmospheric enrichment.

Kevin T. Ward

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This album was reviewed in Issue 128 of The Living Tradition magazine.