Shire Folk Magazine

Big Mann Records

More fantastic music emerges from the thriving Glasgow scene in the form of Ímar, who draw on the shared traditions of Ireland, Scotland and the Isle of Man. The quintet take their name from a Viking leader whose territory covered all these places. Afterlight, their debut album, had its official launch at the Celtic Connections festival in January 2017.

This is a line-up of top-notch instrumentalists, recognisable from several other bands well known to festival -goers or anyone with an interest in the folk scene, including RURA, Barrule, Mabon,Talisk and Manran. They say they are going back to the music they started out playing and it really is vibrant music, delivered with dexterity and energy.

Tomas Callister (fiddle), Ryan Murphy (flute, uilleann pipes, whistle) and Mohsen Amini (concertina) contribute some original tunes whilst some are traditional Manx or Irish. There are others from contemporaries including Matheu Watson, Hamish Napier and Damien O’Kane. Adam Rhodes (bouzouki) and Adam Brown (bodhran, guitar) expertly drive the tunes along and most are pretty fast and furious. You only get one breather among the ten sets!

The album release is certainly hotly anticipated. One of the sets, ‘l’Air Mignonne’, posted on YouTube in January 2016, has received 86,000+ views as I write. They’ve harnessed the power of social media quite impressively: a Facebook video of band members ‘practising’ in a German traffic jam went viral (172K views) and picked up press coverage. Happily, there is real musical substance behind all the hype!

Jane Dawson