The Living Tradition

You can hardly pigeon-hole Ímar as a newcomer to the Celtic music scene. This is the band’s second album – although not in any sense a difficult second album. In between, the members have individually and collectively been tidily stacking up awards, including one of the prestige of the BBC Radio 2 Horizon Award for best emerging act at this year’s annual shindig.

So Ímar comes highly rated, and you can tell why. Apart from the great playing that you take as a given at this end of the market, Ímar has that something extra that demands attention. Although Avalanche was recorded in Glasgow, where the band is based, the members are from Cork, Suffolk, and the Isle of Man, as well as Glasgow, and their music carries influences from these places – Ireland and the Isle of
Man particularly. All the while their strongest individual focus is arguably the virtuoso concertina of Mohsen Amini, especially when it works in tandem with Ryan Murphy’s pipes on tracks like the blazing set they call Rambling.

Best of all, though, is the one really contemplative track, Be Thou. It has a number of access points to its delights, including an Irish air, called Slane, a hymn tune and the tune to the rather better known Banks Of The Bann. Like the rest of this release, it is a joy.

www. Dave Hadfield