Ye Vagabonds: The Hare’s Lament review – Fine folk revivalism

The song reigns supreme in deliciously astere, crystal-clear arrangements

The Hare's Lament
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Artist: Ye Vagabonds
Genre: Traditional
Label: River Lea

Brothers Brian and Diarmuid MacGloinn release their second album in under two years and it's a cavern of delights. The duo are central to the recent folk revival: where bare-bone vocals and deliciously austere arrangements are a hallmark of the sound, and where the song reigns supreme.

Ye Vagabonds make their own a diverse range of traditional songs rooted in the Irish and English folk canons on The Hare's Lament. Willie o Winsbury, the Child Ballad, and a song long associated with Andy Irvine, is a perfect calling card for this entire collection: harmonium heralding a winsome tale, recounted with a delicate intimacy that celebrates the medieval language of milk-white steeds, a lovesick king's daughter and the dashing suitor of the title.

Dá mBéinn i Mo Bháidóir encapsulates the essence of this album: the pair’s Irish-language storytelling is crystal clear, rooted in a vocal style owing much to the Donegal singing tradition, and bathed in fiddle and bouzouki that meander languorously along its path.

Further delights abound: from a little-known take on The Foggy Dew to the pastoral adventures of the title character. A labyrinthine treasure trove.

Siobhán Long

Siobhán Long

Siobhán Long, a contributor to The Irish Times, writes about traditional music and the wider arts