Glasgow-based Anglo-Iranian Scot Mohsen Amini (concertina) and bandmates Tomas Callister (fiddle), Adam Rhodes (bouzouki), Ryan Murphy (uillean pipes, flute and whistle) and Adam Brown (bodhran, guitar) first met as teenagers through the Irish traditional music network Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann. Taking their collective name from the ninth-century Norse Gael king, they enjoyed a dizzying rise in the Celtic folk world after they got together in 2016, while they were all still active in other popular groups on the thriving Glasgow trad scene. But after a couple of terrific albums, Afterlight and Aualanche, and acclaim at the 2018 BBC Folk Awards, Ímar have seemed to be missing in action for the last few years. They fairly roar back, though, with this startlingly energetic and accomplished third album.
Continuing the trend towards their own compositions set on Avalanche, the bulk of Awakening’s ten tracks are penned by Callister and Amini with Murphy contributing three and just a few traditional numbers in an exhilarating melting pot of Irish, Scottish and Manx-influenced tunes that serve convincing notice that they’re well and truly back on the folk music scene.