Washington, D.C.-based band Fynesound has released its debut album Almost Home, a collection of mostly Scottish and Irish songs and tunes. Sharon (Celtic harp) and John Knowles (fiddle, octave mandolin and guitar) founded Fynesound in 1997 and were later joined by Karin Loya on cello, Linda Rice-Johnston on vocals and Kim Lyons as a highland dancer.
The CD includes 11 traditional and original instrumental tracks and two traditional songs from Scotland as well as one song by Loya. Fynesound plays traditional music from the 18th century, when the combination of fiddle and cello was very popular. Their playing together is virtuoso, and Rice-Johnston's alto voice is a perfect match to those ancient songs -- pity there're so few.
The album starts with my favourite track, the powerful Scottish traditional song "Donald MacGillivray," passionately sung by Linda Rice-Johnston and with Robert Mitchell on the great Highland bagpipe. My favourite tune is Davey Arthur's "Tam Lin," a contemporarily composition inspired by a famous Scottish ballad with a stunning performance of John on mandolin and Karin on cello. The Scottish slow reel "Miss Gordon of Gight" shows brilliant playing together of harp and cello.
This recording is an interesting mixture of traditional and contemporary tracks brought forward with much talent and experience.
20 October 2007