SOUTH CARTHAGE – New England Celtic Arts will host the highly acclaimed Scottish band Malinky at Skye Theatre Performing Arts Center in South Carthage on Tuesday, March 3, and at the Lakeside Theater in Rangeley on Wednesday, March 4 with the concerts starting at 7 p.m. at both theaters. A pre-show jam will start at 6:15 p.m. at Skye Theatre please bring your instruments and join in. Reservations are strongly suggested at both venues.
“One of the great traditional Scottish bands” (www.folkworld.de) with their stunning fourth album Flower & Iron, Malinky celebrate their tenth anniversary and introduce a newly revamped line-up, meanwhile underscoring their reputation as one of Scotland’s most distinctive and accomplished folk bands.
While retaining their hallmark song-based repertoire, performed by three superb lead vocalists and arrayed with tastefully inventive instrumentation, Malinky today unite seasoned maturity with sparkling freshness, casting their musical net wider than ever. Formed in Edinburgh in 1998, Malinky showed their mettle early on by winning a prestigious Danny Kyle Open Stage Award at the following year’s Celtic Connections festival in Glasgow. Ten years later, the two remaining members from that founding line-up – Steve Byrne (vocals/bouzouki/guitar) and Mark Dunlop (vocals/whistles/bodhrán) – are now joined by Fiona Hunter (vocals/cello), who replaced original lead singer Karine Polwart in 2005, alongside recent recruits Dave Wood (guitar/bouzouki) and Mike Vass (fiddle). With Dunlop hailing from over the water in Antrim, and Wood from Derbyshire, their respective roots in Ulster song and English tradition add further vibrant layers to Malinky’s core Scottish sound.
Malinky’s three previous recordings, Last Leaves (2000), 3 Ravens (2002) and The Unseen Hours (2005), all on top Scottish folk label Greentrax, have each won successively greater acclaim, establishing the band not only as outstanding interpreters of traditional song, but as equally gifted exponents of contemporary material. This breadth of artistry is firmly to the fore on Flower & Iron, with Hunter, Byrne and Dunlop all taking turns to shine on vocals, while Wood and Vass bring renewed dynamism and verve to the instrumental arrangements.
Songs on the new album range from the lilting lovers’ dialogue ‘Pad the Road Wi Me,’ sweetly intertwining Byrne and Hunter’s voices, to Dunlop’s hauntingly anguished version of the prophetic ‘Dark Horse on the Wind,’ by Irish songwriter Liam Weldon; from Scottish balladeer Archie Fisher’s bittersweet paean to industrial Clydeside, ‘The Shipyard Apprentice,’ imbued by Hunter with matching poise and passion, to Byrne’s resonant, artfully shaded rendering of the traditional classic ‘Sweet Willie and Fair Annie.’
“I think the mix of material and moods really reflects how the band sounds now, and how we’ve progressed since the last album,” said Hunter. “We’ve still got the big dark ballads in there, but they’re balanced with more upbeat and contemporary songs. Also, all the songs were chosen because we had some kind of personal connection to them – songs from home, or associated with particular people – which always adds an extra dimension when you’re singing.”
Skye Theater is located 3 miles West of East Dixfield village at 2 Highland Drive off Winter Hill Rd and US RT. 2 in South Carthage. Lakeside Theater is on Main Street in Rangeley. Ticket price is $10 at the door. Call Skye Theatre at (207) 562-4445 or Lakeside Theater at 864-5000 for reservations and directions.
More information is available at: www.necelticarts.com.