- Matt Tighe has very kindly sent us over his review of our album Skylines.
Here it is,
"The traditional music of Scotland is a well documented tradition and has withstood the test of time. Whether it is the fiddle playing of the Western Highlands, the North East, the Borders or the Islands, the Gaelic singing of Lewis or the iconic sound of the Great Highland Bagpipes, Scottish music is still a massive part of Scottish culture. Something that has been slightly lost in the ages is the fiddle and cello duo and the cello’s role in folk music in general. In recent years there have been many cellists that have started reviving the cello in folk music such as Mike Block, Rushad Eggleston and Tristan Clarridge but none has formidable as Natalie Haas and her fiddle playing partner in crime, Alasdair Fraser. An Dha, (Jaya Hanley and Sarah James), come directly from that fiddle and cello sound, (having attended the school on the Isle of Skye run by Fraser and Haas), however they put their own personality into the style.
On first listening to this album I could hear the classical training that Sarah James and Jaya Hanley have received in the tone of their playing as well as the neatness in the execution of the tunes. While their style of playing is distinctly Scottish in character there are other influences that shine through. The phrasing, feel and intricate bow ornaments suggest roots in Scotland’s tradition but the attention to the over all ensemble and to each others playing suggest classical and jazz influences. Something that also stood out to me is their ability to play both dance tunes and slower compositions equally excellently. Two stand out tracks are the opening and finale of the album. The first track entitled, “Night on the Town”, is a slower reel and a jig and are played with tremendous style and character. The last track is a slow air entitled, “Keep Going”, and is delivered with a great deal of spontaneity and genuine, “In the moment" emotion. The compositions on this album also suggest influence from classical and jazz musics, with tunes employing extended forms and harmonic progressions that are slightly more adventurous than the average set of reels that you might here in the pub.
On the whole, I feel that this is a very strong debut from An Dhá indeed and I predict big things to come for them in the future. If you are a lover of that traditional sound with a contemporary twist put on it then this is most certainly for you." Matt Tighe