Fiddlers' Bid

Da Farder Ben Da Welcomer

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Reviewers sometimes rhetorically speak of "Celtic fiddles," as if to imply that every other player in a given band possessed a fiddle and a bow. Occasionally, however, such flourishes are meant to be taken literally. Take Fiddlers' Bid, a ten-year-old band from the Shetland Islands. Of the seven players, four can play fiddle, more than justifying the group's name. On the band's third album, multiple fiddles, backed by guitar, bass, and Scottish harp, cover both contemporary and traditional fare. Ancient jigs like "Da Shaalds" and "Da Full Rigged Ship" sit comfortably beside new material like "Christine" by bassist David Coles. Tying it all together is the smooth, layered harmony of the fiddles, sometimes calling to mind bagpipes and occasionally capturing the flavor of the American West. The textures of pieces like "Leaving Lerwick Harbor" and "The Swan" are also greatly enriched by Catriona McKay's harp. Overall, the easygoing tempo and pleasant mood of the material makes it the perfect music for a lazy Sunday afternoon. Fiddlers' Bid offers a lovely blend of acoustic music on Da Farder Ben Da Welcomer, and Scottish music lovers and fiddle freaks will be thankful for once that a reviewer really means "Celtic fiddles" when he or she writes it.

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