Gig review: Anna Massie & Mairearad Green

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ANNA MASSIE & MAIREARAD GREEN LEITH FOLK CLUB, THE VILLAGE, EDINBURGH * * * *

TWO young women playing five instruments between them – Anna Massie on guitar, fiddle and banjo, Mairearad Green on accordion and smallpipes – adds up to a wide palette of permutations, most of which featured in this relaxed, highly enjoyable performance.

Massie and Green's first ever duo gig, they told us, was at Leith Folk Club five years ago, so it was an apt return visit now they've reverted to that format with a new joint album imminent among numerous other projects. Massie, the 2003 Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year, also now plays with Blazin' Fiddles as well as backing sundry singers; Green is a member of Box Club and The Poozies; both are much in demand for session work. Which made it an extra pleasure to hear them up close, parading their own compositional talents and a discerning range of other contemporary material from Scotland, Ireland, England and Sweden. Massie spent most of her time on guitar and Green on accordion, shifting the lead/accompanist balance, swapping and sharing the melody, harmony, chords and rhythms with deceptive fluency.

The bagpipe/banjo combination was a highlight, and while the odd scrappy moment was at times exacerbated by ill-balanced sound, the stories behind the tunes – from a Malteser fight on the road to Massie's winning streak in raffles – was ample compensation.