The Lasses – Near Far
The Lasses – Near Far
Label: Independent – Sonic RendezVous
Release date: October 20, 2023
Dutch duo The Lasses have been touring the world with their versions of traditional songs since 2014. Sophie Janna and Margot Merah met in 2011 at a session in an Irish pub – a fruitful meeting, because a year later there was already a debut album, followed by the albums ‘Daughters’ (2015) and ‘Undone’ (2019).
Now The Lasses present their new album ‘Near Far,’ for the second time in collaboration with multiinstrumentalist and producer Janos Koolen. For ‘Near Far,’ The Lasses delved into the Scottish folk tradition, inspired by their own tours of folk clubs around the Scottish heartland.
The Lasses’ honest, natural style of singing and the great blend of their voices has led to recognition in the international folk world: their song Here Now was chosen as one of the best songs of 2019 by The Bluegrass Situation, while Irish Music Magazine and Roots praised their “superb” and “sublime harmonies” on 2019 album Undone. Margot Merah and Sophie Janna both released a solo record before rejoining forces on Near Far.
Near Far consists of 12 songs from the Scottish folk tradition, both contemporary – by the likes of Steve Byrne, Brian McNeill and Karine Polwart – and traditional, such as Jock o’ Hazeldean and the Skye Boat Song. There is also one new song, with lyrics based on a poem by Scottish poet Robert Burns. Near Far speaks to the subject many of the songs have in common: being away from the people you love, as well as to how The Lasses feel about Scotland: near to the heart, despite being far in geographical terms.
The instrumentation is stripped back, but diverse: Sophie Janna and Margot Merah play the bodhrán, shrutibox, tenor ukulele and acoustic guitar. Stijn van Beek adds low whistle and uilleann pipes. Janos Koolen contributes electric and acoustic guitar, piano, clarinet, mandoline, accordion, banjo and vocals, besides recording, mixing and mastering the album.
The album will be presented in Paradiso, Amsterdam on September 30, and in Tivoli, Utrecht on October 14. The official (and digital) release date will be on October 27.
01. Fisher Lassies – trad / Ewan MacColl – 1:56
02. Lang Road Doon – Steve Byrne – 4:24
03. The Farewell – Burns/Merah – 5:21
04. Rivers Run – Karine Polwart – 2:53
05. Mingulay – trad – 4:21
06. Falkirk – Brian McNeill – 2:56
07. Jock O’Hazeldean – trad – 4:19
08. Star of the Bar – Davie Robertson – 2:18
09. Fear a’Bhàta – trad / Síne NicFhionnlaigh – 4:20
10. Skye Boat Song – trad – 3:31
11. Lads Among Heather – trad – 2:35
12. May or May Never – trad – 2:15
30 September Amsterdam – Paradiso Tolhuistuin CD-presentatie
02 Oktober Amsterdam – Torpedo Theater Secret Siren Sessions 2
04 Oktober Wijchen – Theater ‘t Mozaiëk Ziel van Schotland
08 Oktober Deurne – Cultuur Centrum Ziel van Schotland
14 Oktober Utrecht – CD-presentatie
09 November Enkhuizen – de Drommedaris
10 November Den Haag – Acoustic Valley
17 December Grootschermer – Nic Jonk Museum en Beeldentuin