CD Review – The Scotsman

Barrule: Barrule
EOTR, £13.99
* * * *

This eponymously titled debut album from the young Manx trio of fiddler Tomás Callister, accordionist Jamie Smith and Adam Rhodes on bouzouki, plus guests, aims to elevate the profile of their island’s music. Players of conviction and passion, they make a fine job of it.

Taking their name from the Manx peak which was, according to legend, the stronghold of the island god Manannan, they deliver She Lhong Honnick Mee – “I Saw a Ship Sailing” – in stirring anthemic form while another traditional song in Manx Gaelic laments snowbound flocks, with Callister’s fiddle nicely following Greg Joughlin’s vocal line, and resonating all too clearly with this freezing spring’s grim impact on hill sheep farms.

Instrumentally, up-tempo material such as the The Girls of Balladoole or theEngage! set are played with terrific zest. In contrast, the fiddle sounds stark and spare over organ-like accordion in the air O My Graih, its origins lost in the mists of time.