Album Reviews

Astar (2016) 

The Guardian ★★★★ (Robin Denselow)
Bright Young Folk (Su O’Brien)
Songlines ★★★★ (Billy Rough)
fRoots (Paul Matheson)
The National (Alan Morrison)
Folk All (Danny Farragher)
Folk Radio UK (Johnny Whalley)
Fatea (Nicky Grant)
FolkWords (Tim Carroll)
R2 ★★★★(Oz Hardwick)
Penguin Eggs (Tim Readman)

Ùrlar (2013) 

Scotland on Sunday (Norman Chalmers) – Ùrlar
Folkwords.com (Dan Holland) – Ùrlar
Bright Young Folk (Liz Osman) - Ùrlar
The Herald (Alan Morrison) - Ùrlar
The Scotsman (Jim Gilchrist)Ùrlar
Northern Sky (Allan Wilkinson) - Ùrlar
Irland Journal (Sabrina Palm) – Ùrlar
R2 Magazine (Dai Jeffries) - Ùrlar
FATEA (Chris Light) - Ùrlar
Rhythms Magazine (Tony Hillier) - Ùrlar

Bann (2012)

fRoots Magazine, Paul Matheson – Bann
allgigs.co.uk, Paul Pledger (Feb 2012) – Bann
Folking.com (Jan 2012) – Bann
Northern Sky magazine, Allan Wilkinson (Feb 2012) – Bann
flyinshoes review (Maurice Hope) – Bann
The Living Tradition (Fiona Heywood) – Bann
Fish Records – Bann
Folk World webzine (Tom Keller) – Bann
NetRhythms (David Kidman, May 2012) – Bann

The Desperate Battle of the Birds (2010)

The Scotsman (May 2010) - The Desperate Battle of the Birds
Songlines (June 2010) – The Desperate Battle of the Birds
Folk Radio UK (Feb 2010) – The Desperate Battle of the Birds
Bright Young Folk (March 2010) - The Desperate Battle of the Birds
The Living Tradition  - The Desperate Battle of the Birds
Flyinshoes Review (April 2010) – The Desperate Battle of the Birds

Live Reviews

- Vancouver Folk Music Festival 2015 (Vancouver Weekly, Leslie Ken Chu & Anna Bouey)

- Boomerang Project, Glasgow Green Live Zone (Herald Scotland, Alan Morrison)

- Woodford Folk Festival, The AU.Review.com

Breabach visited our shores for Woodford, the quintent focused on traditional Scottish and highland tunes. Acoustic guitar and double bass thumped out the rhythm while bagpipes, whistle and violin wheeled above them in a battle for the lead melody. The duels between the wind and violins were the sizzling highlights of their set, which ended in a rattle of miked-up highland dancing. It’s a slightly more modern take on the highland tradition that’s delightfully put together by this ensemble of young musicians.

- Big Burns Night, Glasgow Royal Concert Hall,  January 2013 (STV)

- Big Burns Night, Glasgow Royal Concert Hall,  January 2013 (Scotsman)

- Big Burns Night, Glasgow Royal Concert Hall,  January 2013 (Herald)

- Edinburgh Fringe Festival, August 2012 (Broadway Baby) 

Lakeside Arts Centre, Nottingham, Feb 2012 (Peter Palmer)

- Celtic Connections – Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, Strathclyde Suite, 28/01/2012

“Breabach’s half began with a lovely, sinuous piece of music, adding instruments one at a time as the band members came onstage.  Just when the crowd had settled in for something slow and complex, the pipes came in and slapped us upside the head as they powered into a set of reels.  Supporting their newest CD, Bann, the band presented its new line up (Megan Henderson (fiddle/vocals/stepdance), James Duncan Mackenzie (pipes/flute), Calum MacCrimmon (pipes/whistles), Ewan Robertson (guitar/vocals) and James Lindsay (double bass)).  They treated the audience with “Glasgow of the Big Shops” (the title comes from a Gaelic phrase, Glaschu mòr na bùithdean), following that with a dynamite set that ended with a waulking song from Newfoundland to show off Henderson’s vocals.  She took the lead again on ”M’eudail, M’eudail,” a song that had the audience singing along.  Callum MacCrimmon’s tune “Gig Face” was a standout; starting with skirling pipes and James Linday’s bass, the tune pounded out a fabulous beat, twisting into a lovely, almost symphonic bridge, then built up the energy again.  Here’s how good that tune is: the Angus Grant masterpiece “2:50 to Vigo” almost paled in comparison.  The entire performance was stellar, with an encore that brought the audience to its feet.  The second encore brought Corquieu back onto the stage for an incredible set, all 13 musicians playing together in a wild, exotic medley.

You should have been there.”

– Catherine Keegan

 

Cheltenham Folk Festival (Cheltenham Town Hall, 14th Feb 2009)

KARL DALLAS reckons a young Scottish outfit puts the English acts to shame at the Cheltenham Folk Festival.

“Sometimes you’ve just gotta hold on and keep the faith when things begin to get grotty. There was I, thinking the 13th Cheltenham Folk Festival was going to be unlucky for me if I thought I might find the spark that’s been firing up folk for several decades. Then, suddenly, four young Scots take to the stage and the entire Town Hall catches fire.

Breabach is their name and hearing this quartet of two Highland pipers, a fiddle-player and a guitarist revives my long-held belief that there is indeed life after folk….Breabach come on and blow my socks off. This quartet consists of Calum MacCrimmon (pipes, whistles, backing vocals), Patsy Reid (five-string fiddle, vocals), Ewan Robertson (guitar, vocals) and Donal Brown (pipes, flute and whistles, stepdance). Two pipers playing in unison could be in danger of overegging the pudding, but believe me, the combination works. Reid’s single solo vocal is as bonny as her pretty face, and as for her fiddle-playing, it’s a long time since I have heard something that makes me so astonished.

Breabach are, of course, a Scottish group, and the Scots folk scene has always had more fire in its belly than more taciturn folkies south of the border. This has got nothing to do with any spurious “Celticness” and everything to do with the way Scottish folk has not ghettoised itself from the rest of its national culture. This doesn’t mean aping the mannerisms of pop or the concert stage. Why do so many of the young English singers think they have to slow down the last line of every song with an operatic rallantando? And for God’s sake, can we stop plugging acoustic guitars into the PA?I heard one performer play through a mic, rather than a DI line and the resulting richness was closer to the true sound of the guitar, superior to the tinniness of the plugged-in axe.

Am I becoming a grumpy old curmudgeon in my dotage? Certainly, but not for long when bands like Breabach take the stage.”

by Karl Dallas for The Morning Star. Read the whole review.

Cheltenham Folk Festival – Eric Worral

“The phenomenon that is Breabach hit the stage like a highland army advancing out of the mountain mist, their double header of twin bagpipes putting out a big ‘in your face’ sound high on energy and rhythm. Frighteningly young to be this accomplished, they then took us off the mountains and into the glens with a wonderfully melodic combination of fiddle, flute and whistle, before leaving us with a last stunning barrage of pipe-driven reels.”

by Eric Worrall. Read the whole review.