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BODEGA - Bodega

Greentrax CDTRAX295

This is Bodega's debut album and it's excellent! This exciting and fiendishly gifted young Scottish band got together early in 2005 after meeting as students at Plockton, and within a matter of a few months they'd won the coveted BBC2 Young Folk Award. Listen to this album (produced by Jack Evans) if you've never seen them perform live, and you'll understand exactly why they wowed the judges!

The band is blessed with the fine and exceptionally clear vocals of Norrie MacIver, who strikes the right balance of English and Gaelic song. The traditional instrumental skills of the entire band are superb - there's barely a traditional instrument not heard here, and they even throw in the pulsing beat of the djembe for added impact. The music buzzes with youthful energy and a lively, rhythmic, very lyrical drive. I'm totally smitten with Compositions, a gorgeous set of original tunes with stunning harp, guitar and fiddle motifs - I'd like to hear much more of the band's original work on future albums.

There's a wonderfully characterful version of Crooked Jack, and the instrumental covers are all spot on, including spirited interpretations of Brose and Butter, The Badger Set, Aird Ranters, Punch in the Dark and more. I like the way these musicians clearly thrive on giving each other space to 'show off' their outstanding instrumental skills right through the recording - there are masses of listening detail here.

Bodega's approach is bold and energetic, and their musicianship is quite honestly superb - the band deserves to go far; this album injects much-needed life into the Scottish traditional scene, and Bodega really deserve to achieve the sort of success enjoyed by the likes of vocal/instrumental bands like Back of the Moon, Malinky and Capercaillie.

If their debut album sounds this good, who knows what Bodega might be capable of producing in future?

Debbie Koritsas

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This album was reviewed in Issue 71 of The Living Tradition magazine.