Keep it Up

by Keep it Up

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This band came about when Simon Thoumire noticed that there were not enough bands playing purely Scottish traditional music. After a few phone calls and one lineup change the band was Simon (concertina), Eilidh Shaw (fiddle, voice), Malcolm Stitt (bouzouki, bagpipes) and Kevin MacKenzie (guitar). There was a conscious effort when putting the CD together to use only Scottish material. The band looked back through all the old tunes books and memories to find old march’s, strathspey’s, reels that had never been heard for years. The final result was a CD that really grooves! It features old material performed in new ways with lots of variations that bring the music right back into the present. My favourite track is Charlies Hunter’s Jig because of the middle tune “The Duck”. This classic Donald Macleod pipe jig soars between the keys and just makes me want to dance. There are beautiful moments in Carron Side, a little known Robert Burns tune that closes the CD and also in the song Mo Chaoin Challin (My gentle girl) that is sung by Eilidh.

There is plenty of evidence of traditional music’s buoyant vitality in a sparkling set from the four-piece Keep It Up, who bring a marvellously expansive spontaneity - as well as tremendous technical flair - to their repertoire of traditional and traditional-style tunes. The vibrant, luminous pairing of Simon Thoumire’s mercurial concertina and Eilidh Shaw’s perpetually restless fiddle seemed to be goading each other on to ever greater heights of semi-improvised invention, while guitarist Kevin Mackenzie and Malcolm Stitt on bouzouki cleanly but forcefully underscored their playing’s muscular lift and swing. Sue Wilson

A well-chosen selection of tunes played with flair and arranged with the freshness of mountain spring water, Keep it Up are a band from Scotland’s premier division. Taplas


released June 7, 2013

Simon Thoumire: concertina
Eilidh Shaw: fiddle & vocals
Malcolm Stitt: bouzoukie
Kevin MacKenzie: guitar



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