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LIVE REVIEWS
Bellows & Bows, Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh - 1st Mar 2007
Review by Rob Adams, The Herald

The Scots, the Swedes and the Cajuns are three peoples united by the common trait of being at their happiest when they're miserable. Thus noted Aly Bain straight of face as this latest Scottish Arts Council Tune-up tour drew to a close.

Bain's observation may well possess an element of truth but as a strapline for an evening of fiddle and accordion music and high lonesome singing, it was a red herring. Ach, you'd guessed. When Bain and partner in devilry Phil Cunningham get together they produce more fishy clues than appear in Agatha Christie's entire canon.

They were in good company here. Legs were pulled. Eyes twinkled and How Much is that Doggie in the Window? - sung backwards in Franglais - became a plausible Louisiana blues. Well, almost.

In among the mirth there was a whole heap of good music. The Swedish Aly & Phil, Bjorn Stabl and Bengan Janson, play ancient Viking long dances, waltzes and polkas with a richness, vigour and neatly controlled skill, and the Savoy-Doucet Cajun Band is a trio just bursting with riches. Michael Doucet's keening, heartbroken songs and bluesy, glissando-strewn fiddling, Marc Savoy's springy accordion playing and Ann Savoy's been-through-the-mill singing and determined guitar rhythms were all so authentic you could almost smell the chicken cooking.

Add these components to Bain and Cunningham's apparently effortless touch and you have a septet that lived up to its all-star promise. By marrying enthusiasm for each other's music with restraint and sensibility they ensured that this never became an overblown jam session and proved that a strathspey could indeed flow sweetly under bron and throu

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