Band of Burns

Live from the Union Chapel

Own label

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CELTIC Connections’ Burns Night guests this year are a troupe who have emerged from a series of informal Burns Night gigs in London over the past few years and who represent Ireland, England, Wales and Turkey as well as various parts of Scotland.

Twelve-strong and contributing vocals, various fretted and string instruments, flute, pipes and percussion, they celebrate the work of Burns and like-minded songwriters, including the late Irish-Cuban social commentator Richard Fariña, whose The Quiet Joys of Brotherhood features here and echoes Burns’ approach to putting new words to traditional melodies, in this case the Irish air My Lagan Love.

Drawn from bands including Afro Celts, Glasgow-based Danny Kyle award-winners, the Langan Band, and the high-energy Balkan-Greco-Turkish crew the Odd Beats, Band of Burns take few prisoners with their often raucous, partying dance tunes but are also capable of softer, more reflective moments.

Among the mostly well-known Burns songs featured, My Love is Like a Red, Red Rose is read as a poem rather than sung and Now Westlin Winds follows Dick Gaughan’s classic tender arrangement while John Anderson, My Jo reels off on a turbo-charged, exotically dancing adventure.

ROB ADAMS