Follow The Flow - The Sidh
The instrumental still looms large in Celtic fare, while in popular music it has been reduced to a mere footnote. It wasn’t always that way. The 50s and 60s introduced us to guitar instro kings like Link Wray, Dick Dale, surf groups from both sides of the pond like the Tornados and The Shadows in the UK and The Ventures in the States. Booker T & The MGs brought the Hammond B3 front and centre while Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass refried south of the border sounds for the summer of love generation. South Africa’s Hugh Masekala had us ‘Grazing In The Grass’ to the mellow tones of the flugelhorn, which Chuck Mangione picked up on a decade later. But today, an instrumental stands a snowball’s chance of breaking Billboard’s Top 100. That’s what makes the first listen to ‘Follow The Flow’ from Italian Y Gen quartet, The Sidh (pronounced ‘She’) such a delight. With the start of each new track, you steal yourself, waiting for a vocal to break the spell, but from start to finish, contemporary musicianship and arrangements reign supreme. Nobody would expect these fresh faces to play in their great grandpappa’s folkloric style, and to modern ears they push all the right buttons like an old tyme concertina. “Made of whistles and bagpipes, keyboards and percussions, Hip Hop and Breton beats, (The Sidh) are, according to José Ángel Hevia Velasco, (an Austurian piper who has pioneered contemporary Celtic instrumental music) able to recreate atmospheres with a distinctive scent of ‘future tradition’.” Most of the catchy, spirited melodies on Follow The Flow are self-penned by The Sidh, others offer new takes on works from another pioneer of contemporary Celtic instrumentals, Michael McGoldrick, Irish innovators Gráda and a sprinkling of traditional compositions. In Irish mythology a ‘sidh’ is a mound or hillock where faeries live. Follow The Flow is one of those rare records you can start on any track and expect something magical to emerge.