The Duplets - Tree of Strings (3 stars)

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The Duplets - Tree of Strings

(Pond Chicken Music)

FOLK

The harp is enjoying something of a resurgence at the moment, with new young players like Ailie Robertson, Rachel Hair and The Duplets pairing of Freya Thomsen and Gillian Fleetwood all focusing on the oldest of the Scottish folk instruments. The Duplets debut album is definitely stronger when they concentrate on instrumental music rather than their disappointingly weak singing, but does reveal a pleasing musicality along with technical facility in their playing.

Their instrumental sets combine traditional tunes like ‘O’Neill’s March’ and three Gaelic tunes from the Angus Fraser Collection (including the album’s title track, ‘Croabh nan Teud/Tree of Strings’) with contemporary material, much of it their own. Their empathic interplay comes over strongly when it is just the harps that are featured, although an expanded ensemble featuring fiddle, banjo, double bass and drums is employed to good effect on some of the tracks.

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