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Cua in Sheffield

Cafe #9, Sheffield
Wednesday 13th April 2022, £13.75
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"The more you listen the more you hear, the more you hear the more you want to listen. The roots of this music spread wide, anchoring cua like a colossal tree giving them a strength a rigor and a real presence. Coastal Music looks to the horizon and is music without borders, traditional folk, jazz, classical music American, Roots music whatever it is, it is a vital music."

- Marc Higgins, Northern Sky Magazine

The point about anything thats truly different is finding that moment when unusual becomes singular rather than strange.

The latest album from decidedly different band, cua (in addition to being atypical theyre averse to capital letters) is unlike anything else, indeed its reasonable to describe songs of the hollow as unique. The instrumental blend is not that radical ... fiddle, guitar, bouzouki ... however the dynamic delivery of those instruments, minutiae of melody, arrangements and three-part harmonies are uncompromising and innovative. Theres obvious folk music styling, beyond that is a mix of influence that interlaces, separates and coalesces to such an extent that you keep hearing snippets of genres from traditional to innovative, moving at such a pace its almost impossible to pin down. The more you listen the more you hear ... the roots of heritage, explosions of jazz with bluesy overtones, Eastern Europe mixed with Americana, free-ranging snippets of avant garde, Irish tradition from both sides of the Atlantic, acapella ... theres a maelstrom of input. From the moment Atlantic Cross opens the exceptional mix manifests itself, expands with The Hollow Man and further intrigues with the acidic lyrics of The Other Man, before Chests Final Beat and the rabid Black Dog have you involved in this music. There are 15 tracks on the album each distinctive, different and equally impressive.

The album is songs of the hollow and cua are John Davidson (fiddle, percussion, vocals) Shane Booth (guitar vocals) and Ros OMeara (bouzouki, guitar, percussion, vocals) ... and you should look out for both.


Review: Tim Carroll []

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