Uiscedwr - Everywhere
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Yukka (www.uiscedwr.com)

This new Welsh-English-Irish trio plays Celtic folk tinged with Eastern European, jazz and classical influences on its first CD. What's most astounding about Uiscedwr is the fiddle of Anna Esslemont, a dynamic player who can seemingly do it all on the instrument. She has the virtuosity and flair of a young Jean-Luc Ponty, but seems to be a folkie at heart. Right from the first track "Feathers," this CD announces to the world the emergence of a new talent. Esslemont performs with boldness and originality throughout.

Nothing wrong with the other two band members either. Both Ben Hellings (guitar) and Cormac Byrne (percussion) are formidable musicians who seem to understand just what their lucky stars have brought them. Esslemont can sing fairly well too, though this album primarily showcases her fiddle-playing on eight high-energy instrumental sets.

Among the other highlights: "Mind the Gap" shows their diverse influences and does this with unexpected changes in key and rhythm, melding the traditional ("Cup of Tea") with an original composition and Byrne's percussion solo. On the "Everywhere" set, Esslemont's sweeping "Cefn Mawr" gives way to Greek and Yiddish influences. Slightly jazzy "La Peri" is one of three vocal tracks, though it wraps up the CD with a final solo on fiddle by Esslemont.

Uiscedwr's playing is rarely off the mark. Esslemont has a great feel for the tradition and the talent and energy to make it her own. The self-produced CD has a brilliant, if slightly unpolished, sound to make for a stunning debut. - David Cox

CD available from the band: www.uiscedwr.com

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