Barrule – Manx ‘Trad Power Trio’ performing new and traditional music from the Isle of Man
Cruising around the celtic music scene, as I regularly do just to see what gems I can unearth, has led me to the wondrous hidden magic of Manx Celtic music and the self titled debut album from Barrule.
Barrule are Jamie Smith, Tom Callister and Adam Rhodes and although this is the first album by these guys as a trio, they are by no means rookies! Jamie fronts another band called ‘Jamie Smith’s Mabon’, which Adam has also been playing in since 2011. Adam, along with ‘Mabon’, is well travelled with the Manx band ‘King Chiaullee’ (Manx gaelic for ‘Music Heads’ and well worth a listen). And finally Tom Callister, one of those 19 year old annoying multi instrumental people that can pick up an instrument and somehow master it in a few bars worth of a song, is studying traditional music on Benbecula in the outer Hebrides.
Barrule are a trio that are at the forefront of the musical push of the relatively unheard-of gold mine that is the Celtic nation of the Isle of Mann. The Famous summit on the Isle of Mann that gave them their name is a signifier of the bands importance of having a connection to the island. This connection is a running theme throughout the album. With contemporary pieces full of references to the island as well as traditional Manx ones that are handed down over centuries… Also one that was inspired by the burning of a candle at both ends! Even the opening track, ‘Mylecharaine’s March’, is the the song that inspired the Manx national anthem.
The album itself flows fantastically, with tracks covering all the skills these guys have to offer. Including a few vocal numbers featuring a raspy voice that really does justice to the backdrop it is laid over.
The album is introduced perfectly with ‘Mylecharaine’s March’, a great show of the musical virtuosity you’re about to experience. This is followed by ‘In Search of Manannan’ which is the first time you hear vocals on the record. This is a ridiculously good Manx folk tale telling the story of waking up the god of the Isle of Mann. Something I’m sure gets people into trouble. Old gods were way more fun!
I really like this album. It does everything that a celtic folk music album should do in my eyes. It has amazingly talented musicians going hell for leather, has links to the community and it really strives to preserve the culture that spawned the very music they are playing. They hold on to traditional Manx songs, sing in Manx and have really Manx time (I’m just making Manx into a word meaning excellent).
Do you know what else I like about these guys? They give you a free download on their website (http://www.barruletrio.com/). You get ‘She Lhong Honnick Mee’ for absolutely nothing. It is a brilliant song with a vibrant rhythm that will have you blasting through any to-do list and heading to the hills to appreciate a good view as soon as is humanly possible. It’ll also have you heading to buy the album which is out now.
Barrule get about a bit too so there is ample opportunity to catch these guys at some point. They are playing the Sage in Gateshead on the 1st of November as part of ‘Electrofolkageddon’. A sterling night featuring a host of amazing acts (http://www.sagegateshead.com/event/electrofolkmaggedon/).
And as most people are, they are on twitter (@barruletrio) and facebook. Check those out for up to minute updates on the bands goings on. If you want?
About the author
I'm currently studying English Language as an undergraduate at Sussex Uni. I love music with a passion and a good debate is where I like to be. I would probably argue the colour of snow with an Eskimo if given the opportunity! I'm a pacifist, a bit of a lefty and I hate the rubbish that we are continually fed everyday by the government, media, banks etc. Love music though, just so we're clear LA LUTTE CONTINUE