Formed in 1996 in St. Pölten, Austria, as an acoustic quartet, Ballycotton's first two recordings emphasized their preference for Irish music. Although they performed many original tunes, they were structured in a manner that demonstrated the group's full understanding of traditional Irish music. The five song EP Joanna's Wedding was issued in early 1997, followed by Fairytale in September of that year. Both recordings showcased exemplary musicianship. Fiddler Matthias Jakisic was particularly impressive, as their tunes were mostly fiddle-driven. The remainder of the group were equally as accomplished, although their main role was that of accompanying Jakisic. Oddly, it was guitarist Gernot Strauß, picker extraordinaire Alex König, and percussionist Harald Binder that remained together upon Jakisic's departure. He left to pursue a solo career and was replaced by a duo of fiddlers, Christina Gaismeier and Jock Brocks, who bring a classical and traditional background to the group respectively. Ballycotton used the personnel change as their opportunity to alter their style significantly. While the influence of the Irish remains detectable in their music to some degree, they've opted for a more all-encompassing world music style due, in part, to Brocks' extensive knowledge of various forms of folk music. Ballycotton's 2001 release A La Cut is reflective of the changes this group has undergone.
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