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March, Strathspey & Surreal

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Album Review

The Simon Thoumire Three take a rather unique approach to modern Celtic music. The trio consists of Thoumire, a virtuoso concertina player, guitarist Kevin MacKenzie, and string bass player Simon Thorpe, and this unconventional instrumentation leads the group in all kinds of interesting directions, from '30s-vintage hot jazz to sinewy chromatic experimentation. They don't experiment much with texture or production — apart from the occasional distorted guitar, the band's sound remains spare and unadorned throughout most of the album, the focus staying squarely on Thoumire's fleet-fingered concertina playing. The tunes themselves are what give the music its uniqueness; the trio alternates traditional jigs and reels like "The Snuff Wife" and "Bridge of Don" with such quirky originals as "John's Got School Tomorrow" and "Gloomy-Go-Round/Merry-Go-Round." Thoumire's original compositions start off sounding kind of folky, but he has a jazzman's sensibility and uses the tunes as springboards to something much more melodically twisted. This is a disc that rewards repeated listening.

Biography

Genre: World

Years Active: '90s, '00s

The musical traditions of Scotland have been updated through the concertina playing and composing of Edinburgh-born Simon Thoumire. The recipient of a BBC Young Tradition Award, in 1987, Thoumire has continued to build on the traditions with his virtuosic playing. According to http://www.lismor.co.uk, Thoumire is "one of the most technically accomplished players of the concertina to emerge in recent years." Thoumire's involvement with music began, at the young age of nine, when he played bagpipes...
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March, Strathspey & Surreal, Simon Thoumire Three
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