422 is an exciting young band (the oldest of whom is only 20) from the north of England. They formed in 1999, practiced like a bunch of whirling dervishes, entered the BBC Radio 2 Young Tradition contest, and walked off with the top award. The five members include Emily and Sophy Ball on fiddles, Sam Pirt on accordion, Joey Oliver on whistles and recorder and Ian Stephenson on guitar and bass.
On One they show a healthy mix of influences, with a number of French-Canadian reels, some American pieces, and tunes from Norway, Sweden, Denmark and the Shetland Islands (not to mention Ireland, Scotland and their native Northumbria and York). There are also five original tunes, written in styles from a polska to a slow air.
All of the members show fine skill on their instruments, sometimes playing in unison, sometimes soaring above the others in a solo, all of it moved forward by the percussive guitar work. The two fiddles meld together nicely in both harmonies and unison on tracks such as the Danish tune, "Gamle Jes Sonnichsen's Styk." 422 take some chances with arrangements and rhythms, which often pay off by making old chestnuts like "Calliope House" and "Big John McNeil's" exciting once again.
You can hear more of 422 in the 2000 Free Reed Festival archive