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The Scottish Stepdance Company "Sole Music" CDFSR1710

You might think that bringing a stepdance group into a recording studio is as strange as transferring the duo Hinge and Bracket from the obvious medium of TV to the non-visual one of radio. You'd be wrong.

The Scottish Stepdance Company are committed to the re-integration of the almost extinct danceform back into this country, and realised that the way to succeed is by avoiding any tag of worthiness, and by marrying the dancing to an inventive and exciting approach whilst always remaining respectful of the tradition.

The result is a fresh and stimulating album that is strongly centred on the west coast tradition of Gaelic song, piping and fiddle playing. I defy anyone not tap their feet to this, it's just so infectious. Fiddle, guitar, song, whistle, pipes (small and Highland) and double bass are all skilfully deployed to produce an album of depth as well as variety e.g. one track has only with quiet vocal and guitar (Thig am Bata), whilst jazzy bass and vocal do something else again on Seinn O, Whilst both are excellent it is when on the faster tunes the hard percussive shoes come intricately leaping that the whole endeavour is lifted on to a whole new plane. And that's without even seeing them!

There's an additional bonus. The opening track "High Road to Linton" starts with increasingly loud solo feet, before any instruments enter. If you're sat in your car at the lights, with a boy racer next to you committing noise pollution with drums in bass thumping out, quickly maximise the volume in your car and flick to this track. You'll blow him off the road. Splendid stuff, and on the strength of this I'm committed to seeing them at the earliest opportunity.

Hector Christie

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This album was reviewed in Issue 48 of The Living Tradition magazine.