CD Review: Northern Sky Magazine

Barrule – Manannan’s Cloak (Wardfell Records)

Anyone who has taken more than a passing interest in the traditional music of the British Isles will no doubt be pretty well informed of the Celtic music of both Scotland and Irelend and may even be familiar with the music of Wales, Cornwall and even Brittany. Somewhere along the line though, the traditional music of The Isle of Man has either been forgotten, shelved or brushed under the carpet for whatever reason over the centuries. The young trio of Tomas Callister, Jamie Smith and Adam Rhodes, otherwise known collectively as Barrule have set themselves a highly focused agenda in order to bring Manx music to a much larger audience and judging by the music on this album, together with their previously released eponymous debut, the band appear to be achieving their goal. With fiddle, accordion and bouzouki respectively, as well as a bit of banjo and mandolin in places, the trio lead a sonic attack on traditional songs and tunes throughout this album, creating a highly energetic vibe, especially on such tunes as Kinnoull written by the Manx flute player Peddyr Cubberley and The Laxey Reels, a set of six tunes that closes the album. Produced by Andy Seward at the Nunnery Chapel in Douglas, MANANNAN’S CLOAK, named after the legendary ancient Celtic God Manannan MacLir’s shroud of mist that protects the island from invaders, reveals a band that have effectively reached a new high in traditional Manx music.

Allan Wilkinson
Northern Sky