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SULA "Fastland" Tutl SHD 45

We've become very used to artists exploring the links between our musical traditions and those of the Americas in recent years, but there's not been quite so much looking at links to Scandinavia. That's a real shame, if this release is anything to go by.

Sula is the Faroese (and Latin) name for the gannet, and is also the collective name of Eskil Romme, accordeon; Erling Olsen, fiddle and mandolin; and Rod Sinclair, vocals, guitar and banjo. The Danish-Scottish connection is musically expanded to take in material from other Scandinavian countries and even from America, to give the unifying theme of bringing together the music of the countries flown over by the Sula.

The cross-cultural blend is an excellent one, too, with fine examples in the set of 'Buglaens Kontrasejr / My Love She's But A Lassie Yet / Ramlekvadrillen' for example, or the innovative arrangement of 'The John Maclean March' , which intersperses the tune of a Swedish drinking song 'Brannvin Ar Mit Enda Gull'. This approach also refreshes the other songs which are well-known in this country, and the overall combination of songs and tunes from the different cultures really works well.

Rod's voice is rich and strong, and the musicianship is highly impressive throughout the recording, with the different instruments well-balanced and mixed by Leith's very own Dick Gaughan. All in all, this should not only be a successful album for Sula, but it should also encourage people to find out a bit more about any of the music that they are currently unfamiliar with.

Gordon Potter

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This album was reviewed in Issue 43 of The Living Tradition magazine.