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KEJAFI - Coast 

KEJAFI - Coast 
Private Label 

To be honest, I’ve not had a lot of opportunity to find out about the Scottish traditional music scene in Australia up until now, and on listening to this CD, I think that it’s time I changed that! Kejafi is a trio comprising Ken O’Neill, octave mandolin; James Gastineau-Hills, fiddle and viola; and Fiona McVicar, fiddle and vocals (see what they did there?) and they obviously have a mission to spread exposure to top-quality Scottish music in their part of the world. This is something that they easily achieve, giving us a release that grabs and maintains the listeners’ attention all the way through.

The choice of instrumentation gives an ensemble effect which is light in tone, with the extra timbre of the viola giving depth in a number of tracks. The playing is clear and fluid, with a lot of crispness in the arrangements. This all results in the music being a real treat to listen to, as it reflects an excellent standard of playing which shows the players’ appreciation of their material. Add into the mixture Fiona’s clear and powerful singing on The Braes Of Strathblane and there’s another dimension to the whole effort. The tunes are a canny blend of traditional and contemporary, including one each written by James and Fiona. All the tracks allow full scope to everyone to interact easily, and the excellent quality of the sound mixing lets every instrument be heard clearly.

All in all, a very good indication of the health of their music scene – who knows, maybe soon we’ll be allowed to travel again, as I’d love to hear them live!

Gordon Potter


This review appeared in Issue 137 of The Living Tradition magazine