‘Northern Lights’ by Axum - eight musicians in perfect step(May 06, 2017)
Succinctly, Axum is an eight-piece UK-based folk band playing traditional tunes from the British Isles and beyond. More accurately, they produce stunningly beautiful music mixing tradition with invention to deliver a truly haunting sound that draws out every fibre of each tune they approach. Their EP ‘Northern Lights’ releases on 20th May and I heartily recommend that you purchase a copy.
Their multi-layered sound, created by blending fiddle, double bass, mandolin, low whistle, guitar, descant recorder, accordion and cello, builds into the most soul-enhancing music. And the fact that this positively delicious music was recorded live is testament to the accomplished musicianship on offer.
Opening with the gently crafted form of Northumbrian lullaby ‘Bonny at Morn’ the depth of this music is immediately evident, from there they move into a Finnish dance tune ‘Riippusillan Hambo’ translated into a supremely evocative air, before they move into the combination of ‘Spootiskerry/ Tall Ships Reel’ to add a jaunty edge to proceedings. At this point, the fact this is an EP means there are only two more tracks to savour, the Swedish ‘For Elise’, which could probably move stones to cry, before they take two trad Northumbrian tunes ‘Rusty Gulley/ Reed House Rant’ to leave on a spritely full-blooded note.
For those that wonder, Axum comes from the ‘Axum Reel’ otherwise known as the ‘Eightsome Reel’ a dance for eight participants ... pretty much says it all really, eight musicians in perfect step. And for those that know my views ... it comes as no surprise to hear me say, this EP leaves you wanting more, much more.
Axum are Janet Tomlinson (fiddle) Vince Taylor (double bass) David Raymond (fiddle) Huw Sanderson (low whistle) Francis Mogg (guitar) Christine Robson (recorder) Ming Lai (accordion) Caroline Hoile (cello).
Review: Tim Carroll