Breabach

After striding into the Assembly Ballroom to tumultuous applause, guitarist Ewan Robertson’s wry remark was, ‘Hope you enjoyed the dramatic entrance there.’ The chuckles of the audience mixed with the four other band members who make up celebrated highland folk band Breabach perfectly encapsulated the warm and winsome evening to follow.

Back at the Fringe after two years and two albums away, they played through sets comprised of several different tunes, sampling eras of history and locations around Scotland. Each was explained by a single band member charmingly taking turns to speak and chat: piper and flutist Calum Macrimmon dedicated the roaring ‘Gig Face’ to his girlfriend sat in the audience, whilst fellow multi-instrumentalist James Duncan Mackenzie was left blushing after his unfortunate corduroy shirt and trousers combination was pointed out by Robertson.

The sets were markedly varied, encompassing flutes, bagpipes, guitars, double bass and violin, as well as choral elements and lusty shouts that punctuated any changes. Opener ‘New Paradigm’ had an almost oriental lilt that perfectly contrasted with fiercer and faster efforts like ‘Captain Campbell’s Quickstep’. The audience were sometimes called upon to sing along with melodies, including during a Gaelic track that faded to a delicate acapella section.

There was no percussion and none required: James Lindsay’s throbbing double bass combined with stomping feet kept the collective in time and prevented any tune from lapsing even in tempo changes. Megan Henderson even set down her fiddle and clambered to the front of the stage to supplement the tunes with step-dance on several occasions, adding a rattling rhythm to proceedings.

Their cavernous sound fitted well under the glitzy ceiling and vast chandeliers. What especially impressed was that they made such vast and multi-layered music that it seemed to demand more musicians than the five onstage. The roars upon their exit meant they swiftly returned for an encore so impromptu that the house lights had begun to rise and it can only be hoped that Breabach’s return to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe will not be another few years in the making.

Reviews by James Dolton

Jake Morrell

★★★
Hull City Hall / Truro Hall for Cornwall

Jason Manford - First World Problems

★★★★

Flanders and Swann

★★★★

The 27 Club

★★★

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £1.7m to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now

The Blurb

Nominated simultaneously in the BBC Radio 2 and Scottish Traditional Music awards as Best Group, Breabach’s originality on double bagpipes, fiddle, vocals and bass have earned them an international reputation as one of Scotland’s foremost acts.

Most Popular See More

The Lion King

From £25.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Pretty Woman: The Musical

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Wicked

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Come From Away

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Mamma Mia!

From £18.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Matilda the Musical

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets