The Twisted Twenty is the self-titled debut album from this exciting and innovative group of musicians. Fusing baroque and folk music traditions, they have produced an album bursting with inspired interpretations and arrangements of 17th and 18th Century songs and tunes.
Performing on period instruments including baroque violins, double bass, cello and cittern, they produce a unique and special sound. The virtuoso delivery of each of the musicians is evident from beginning to end in this excellent new approach to traditional music.
The album opens with The Ragged Sailor Set, a vibrant and energetic set of tunes. Cello and double bass add a real fullness and depth as the unrelenting pace of the set swirls along with the violins expertly weaving in and around the melody.
Arthur McBride, the well-known anti-war song, is exquisitely presented as a lament with tender harmonies and arrangements. The bass and cello build up the atmosphere and complement the violins in delivering a moving instrumental interpretation of this classic.
Holly Harman’s emotive vocals on The Three Ravens meld seamlessly with the period instruments and haunting arrangement of this 17th Century English ballad. The musical and lyrical pictures painted are vivid and immersive and transport the listener back in time to the scene of the fallen knight.
To perform a slip jig in nine parts is quite a feat and in James Oswald’s Three Good Fellows The Twisted Twenty do just that, delivering a track that will leave you in admiration and joy. From the complex interweaving of violins, to the droning bass building up anticipation, and the bodhran’s insistent driving beat, a real breathtaking whirlwind of a tune.
The Banks of Forth / She’s Sweetest When She’s Naked, flow from a jaunty violin melody into a fuller uplifting sound, reminiscent of the atmosphere created by a mass band. Both have a traditional Scottish texture, however the very clear baroque influence is evident in both style and delivery. These work extremely well together culminating in an uplifting, yet gentle, set full of colour and emotion.
The Twisted Twenty breathes new life, energy and depth into traditional songs and tunes from our past. At times almost semi-orchestral, at others as intimate and spontaneous as a folk session.
Performing on period instruments and bringing forward new and exciting arrangements, their sound is uniquely different. Very full and satisfying with depth, clarity and tonality that draws you that much more into the musical picture they paint. The Twisted Twenty experience is a really special one, seriously recommended.Andy McMillan
Released on 20 April 2017 on Penny Fiddle Records.
1. The Ragged Sailor Set
2. John Anderson My Joe
3. Ruidleadh mo Nighean Donn - Cuir I Gluin Air a Bodach
4. Arthur McBride
5. The Banks of Forth / She’s Sweetest When She’s Naked
6. The Three Ravens
7. Three Good Fellows
8. Fáilte Na Míosa