KilBride: Traditional
Fiddle Music from Cardiff

(Fflach Tradd, 1997)

If you like Celtic instrumentals then you are about five years late in getting the KilBride brothers' self-titled debut CD. But don't despair. I'm sure if you play KilBride often enough, as surely you will once you hear it, you might be able to make up for lost time.

Three brother -- Bernard, Gerard and Daniel -- play traditional fiddle music from Cardiff. To quote the promotional material, "their repertoire is of traditional acoustic music from Wales, Ireland, Brittany, Scotland and North America which include tunes that they learned from their parents and other local musicians in and around the festivals, clubs, ceilidhs and sessions along with some self-penned material."

While the brothers' first CD might have been released in 1997, their musical activities date back much earlier. They are not music scholars from an academic standpoint. Rather, they learned much of their craft from the influence of their parents starting at an early age. In fact, all three were performing before they reached their teens. Their dad was self-taught on the fiddle while their mum played the concertina as well as the hammered dulcimer. The whole family has been pretty active in the South Wales music scene.

I found it interesting that much of the Welsh music the brothers play was originally written for the harp. Since harp notes tend to last longer, the brothers play the music with two fiddles in order to create the sound they want. What I find even more interesting, and impressive, is that Gerard is a violin maker and made the two fiddles used by the band. Gerard and Bernard play the fiddles while Daniel joins in on guitar.

There are fourteen tracks on KilBride. Many have Welsh titles that I cannot pronounce, much less spell. It seems that the brothers also lack the ability to speak Welsh. Considering they grew up in English-speaking South Wales, that might not be surprising. To all those who say they can't play Welsh music due to their inability to speak the language, they respond "Well, we can play it better than you." And if you give them a listen, you'll probably agree.

KilBride is an excellent CD without a doubt. The playing is tight, which is probably a by-product of the way the brothers grew up. If you enjoy Celtic music at all and fiddle music in particular, then you owe it to yourself to at least check them out. I can not imagine that you will be disappointed.

[ by Wil Owen ]
Rambles: 23 February 2002