Gig review: Gria, Edinburgh Folk Club

Folk quartet Gria. Picture: Contribyuted
Folk quartet Gria. Picture: Contribyuted
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AS MC PADDY Bort remarked, the Western Isles, Orkney and Shetland had only just launched their joint “Our Islands Our Future” campaign when here was a feisty female trio representing all three archipelagos.

Gria

Edinburgh Folk Club

Star rating: * * *

Having made a name for themselves winning a Danny Kyle Open Stage Award at Celtic Connections, Gria are officially a quartet, three of them students at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, the other an art school graduate and photographer. Their accordionist, Gemma Telfer, however, is studying elsewhere, so it was as a trio that they delivered this occasionally tentative and rough-edged but persuasive set that promised much for their own future.

Orcadian Louise Bichan proved a dexterous and, big-toned fiddler, while Shetlander Lana Elaine’s keyboard occasionally sounded clunky in such an intimate venue, but consolidated itself within what was basically an instrumental duo plus singer. From Lewis, Ceitlin Smith has a winsomely delicate voice that, apart from delivering a succession of perky peurt a beul or mouth music sets, shone in a setting of the Sorley MacLean poem An Roghainn – The Choice, while also able to muster passion, as in the enduring Runrig number Chi Mi’n Geamhradh – I See Winter.

Excursions into non-Gaelic song included a surprisingly effective acoustic cover of Massive Attack’s Teardrop and some suitably hearty and audience-embracing vocal harmonies in the fine old shanty Lowlands Away (rescuing it from its current hijacking by the video game Assassin’s Creed).

Seen on 16.04.14