Fisherman’s Friends with Madison Violet
The Old Fruit Market Sun 27th January 2019
From Celtic Connections Festival 17 Jan to 3 Feb 2019
By DANNY MATHESON
The night started with Madison Violet, a female duet with 20 years experience under their belt. The duo from Toronto sang some some songs from their forthcoming album as well as other well known songs with their own twist to them. The award winning Brenley MacEachren and Lisa MacIsaac were harmonic and melancholy as they sang “Crying” and “Time To Right the Wrong” in memory of Brenley”s brother who was murdered a few years ago in Toronto. They then sang Kenny Rodgers big hit “Lucille” in their own inimitable style. Madison Violet hadn’t been in Glasgow for a few years but are due back again in May to promote their new album which I really look forward to.
I’ll be honest and say that I didn’t know what to expect from Fishermans Friends but whatever it was far surpassed with their performance. They are a six piece male vocal group from St Isaac in Cornwall who specialise in singing sea shanties although they have far more in their repertoire than that. Within the first few moments of “Nelsons Blood” we knew we were in for something very special. I could sum it up by one small word… WOW, however I will expand on that a bit more.
Sea shanties for those that don’t know of their origin came from the seafarers to have them working in time with each other as they hauled in their ropes. Everyone in this band has a seafaring background and their timing in their songs was immaculate. Each member took their turn in leading the songs with the other five members harmonising with the only musical accompaniment being an accordion and single guitar. Well known songs like “Storm-along-John, Roll The Woodpile Down, and Sugar in the Hold” we’re interspersed with wonderful wit and humour. We were taken on a musical sea voyage from Cornwall to Liverpool with “The Leaving of Liverpool” to Mingulay with “The Mingulay Boat Song” onto Yarmouth and Plymouth. Every song was worthy of an encore song so I got to wondering just what the band would finish with….. “The Drunken Sailor” and “Wild Mountain Thyme” was the answer.
This was a quite stunning performance and I would say that if Fisherman’s Friends are playing near you do not miss them. There had also been a film made about their working lives and music which is due out in March throughout the country entitled Fisherman’s Friends.