Ímar, named after the Norse Gael King, are Mohsen Amini (concertina), Adam Brown (bodhran, guitar), Tomas Callister (fiddle), Ryan Murphy (flute, uilleann pipes, whistle) and Adam Rhodes (bouzouki). They met as teenagers through an Irish traditional music network but only officially formed as a band in 2016. However, they all play in or have played in other bands, including Talisk, Rura, Mabon and Barrule.
At the 2018 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards they won the ‘Horizon Award, for Best Emerging Act’ and Mohsen won the ‘Musician of the Year’ title. With a pedigree like that you would expect something special and they certainly don’t disappoint. This is their second album, made up of ten tracks (all tunes of course), many of them written by the various band members. Some tunes are played at a bow-shredding, string-breaking or concertina-busting pace, with ‘Revenge’ being a fine example. The final tune of this set,’Best of 17′, is written by Mohsen and shows his amazing mastery of the concertina and just why he won the aforementioned title. The final two tracks are both traditional tunes: ‘Be Thou’, which features an old Irish air called ‘Slane, is a tune learnt and borrowed from Paddy Callaghan, himself a former BBC Scotland Young Musician of the Year; and the final track, ‘Trip to Novi Sad’, is a lively set of Irish reels including ‘The Sally Reel Castle’ and ‘Dunmore Lasses.
If you like Scottish, Irish, Breton and Manx tunes played by musicians at the very top of their game, then this album is very much for you.