The BBC Radio 2 Folk award winning five-piece Ímar have created more than a bit of a stir since their formation a little over two years ago.
Their debut video, unleashed to the world during Celtic Connections 2016, has been viewed in excess of 200,000 times – whilst their touring credits already including the opening set at that year’s Cambridge Folk Festival (technically, the band’s first billed gig – a plaudit surely amongst as rare as they come) and headlining a stage at Belgium’s Dranouter Festival just a week later.
The Irish and Manx flavoured quintet now present their debut album – Afterlight – released on January 27, 2017, at their official Celtic Connections debut in the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall. This ahead of a UK launch tour in April, and numerous summer festivals including Denmark’s legendary Tønder Festival where they were one of the first six names to be announced for its 2017 outing.
With a line-up featuring members of Mànran, RURA, Talisk and Barrule, and a heavyweight collective haul of top prizes – including the 2016 BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year, a BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award, nine All-Ireland and eight All-Britain titles – the group’s formation embodies a personal reconnection with its members’ formative years, dating back long before their recent camaraderie around Glasgow’s justly celebrated session scene.
Adam Brown (bodhrán), Adam Rhodes (bouzouki), Mohsen Amini (concertina), Ryan Murphy (uilleann pipes) and Tomás Callister (fiddle) share a strong background in Irish music – although only Murphy actually hails from Ireland; Rhodes and Callister are from the Isle of Man, whilst Amini is a Glasgow native, and Brown originally from Suffolk – and it is these foundations which underpin many of Ímar’s distinctive qualities, in both instrumentation and material.
Ímar’s unmistakable synergy, however, centres on the overlapping cultural heritage between Scotland, Ireland and the Isle of Man. All three places once shared the same Gaelic language, and a similar, clearly potent, kinship endures between their musical traditions.
“definitely an act to watch!” – Songlines
***** – The Scotsman