For this year’s Celtic Connections Festival, Mànran headline the Barrowlands on the day they release their new album, An Dà Là (The Two Days). The band take the stage following an energetic performance by supporting Scottish outfit Blazin’ Fiddles and the Americans Lindsay Lou and the Flatbellys.
Mànran originally arrived on the Scottish folk music scene in 2011, with a combination of Highland and Uilleann pipes, accordion, fiddle, flute, guitar, backed by drum and bass to create a unique sound. From the outset, the band thrived on live performance and spend most of the year touring internationally.
The six musicians lead some fiery live tracks that build on traditional Celtic roots and contemporary influences. Binding powerful rhythms with elements of rock and jazz, they create a unique mix of uplifting instrumental music. All this culminates in a lively, shared foot-stomping experience. Backed by a largely appreciative and palpably connected audience of all ages, the gig is warm and enjoyable, with occasional shifts in musical tone.
The band clearly contains a wealth of individual talent. Each instrumentalist is very proficient in his own playing. Having said that, some acoustic instruments occasionally suffer from too little space or too little volume. The bass is dominant and, several times, blurs the clarity of the accordion and the guitar, which unfortunately become indistinct. However, even though the multitude of instruments result in music that is occasionally hard to discern, the overall intention and the energy transmitted make Manran a very entertaining live experience.