Glasgow’s Folk Band Gnoss Performing “Fresh” Celtic Music

Concert Review by Fiona Mactaggart (Photo by Dougie Coulter)

Date: August 11,  2017
Venue: Acoustic Music Centre, Ukrainian Club, Edinburgh, Scotland

This year Edinburgh hosts the 70th iteration of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival (EFF), showcasing music and theatre from most regions of the world. Gnoss…this young band, however, hasn’t had far to travel: original members Graham Rorie (fiddle, mandolin) and Aidan Moodie (guitar, vocals) both from the Orkney Islands, nowadays augmented by Connor Sinclair (flute, whistle) and Gregor Kincaid (bodhran). Together they present a highly accomplished, charming and well – paced one hour set, demonstrating a maturity in their play significantly beyond what might be expected from their relative youth.

The set consists of mainly traditional airs, generally played at speed, underscoring the technical proficiency of each of these Royal Conservatoire of Scotland students. However, the beautiful renditions of some slow airs, as well as some affecting self-penned songs, allows the group to display both their compositional chops and also Moodie’s warm vocal tones. Whilst Rorie and Moodie take the lead in most numbers, both Sinclair and Kincaid are clearly able co-conspirators who it is hoped in the future will take on more prominent roles. Certainly the audience tonight appreciate this band almost from the get-go, with customary on-beat clapping and foot stomping.

As for the names of the pieces played, this reviewer from the back of the room finds it difficult to hear the names of each piece, and not all are announced. Greater verbal clarity in the introductions and banter would be welcome, and doubtless will develop as the group continue to clock up gigging experience and confidence.

Finally the band members should be congratulated for their community involvement, teaching children and young people in Glasgow, including in a significantly socio-economically deprived suburb.

In summary this band looks to be developing fast into a major player in the national and international celtic music scene. Definitely worth catching live, though their first CD album Gnoss (2016) is also available.