The Butterfly
(Big Bash, 2004)

Bachue has produced one of the finest crossover albums ever with The Butterfly. Utterly dynamic, the CD makes for fabulous listening and reveals a richly imaginative handling of traditional Scots music.

Astonishingly, for an album with such a big, burgeoning sound, there are just four musicians present: Corrina Hewat and David Milligan (prolific in their field) on electro harp and piano, respectively, plus Donald Hay on drums and Colin Steele on trumpet. All are head of the pack in terms of technical ability. The musicians' jazz backgrounds are evident throughout, and reveal themselves in beautifully structured arrangements -- rhythmic flow and lyricism absolutely drive these tunes.

It's an album that needles away at your listening response -- it soothes & lulls you at one moment, has you back on your toes the next. Hewat sets a seductive tone with her elegant, glamorous vocal on "Light of the Moon," whilst her singing on "Mirk Mirk is the Midnight Hour" lends much style to this Burns song. Her voice takes on a darker edge on the superlative "Orphan's Wedding" (Andy Stewart's dark tale of loss and tragedy) -- Milligan and Hay's magnificent playing drives this superb track to its instrumental conclusion.

There are so many tunes just pulsing with energy and drive here: "Rumble Thy Bellyful" bursts with panache, humour and rhythm -- piano, harp, drums and THAT trumpet (Steele is simply amazing throughout) meld to create an explosive sound. There's loads of mischief in jazz-fuelled "Rencontre" -- Milligan and Steele communicate superbly on this one.

Stunning instrumental tracks abound: "Khazie," "Not Only But Oslo," "Eilidh Shaw's Trip in Germany/Balnain Reel" -- a bigger, more buxom version of the latter can be heard on Hewat/Milligan's Unusual Suspects Live project (Footstompin' Records) -- though little could match the sound Hewat gets out of her Camac Electroharp on this album. If you've heard the Suspects' live CD, you may well agree with me that they've brought much of the rhythm, flair and energy of their big-band project to The Butterfly. It's all the richer for it -- this album is a total stunner!

- Rambles
written by Debbie Koritsas
published 22 January 2005