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Mike Greenwood of Taplas

reviews Four Across by English Rebellion

ENGLISH Rebellion is a collaboration between session and workshop leaders, Nick and Mary Barber and the better-known duo, Mary Humphreys and Anahata. Here, they meld together into a tidy little ceilidh band to which Mary H adds a couple of songs.

Free reed and fiddle establish themselves as dominant leads, but Nick's French horn, whether punching out a baritone descant or a high staccato, or meandering lazily around the melody, generally defines the Rebellion sound, whilst Anahata's cello underscores the mix and Mary H adds vamping piano on occasions.

The material includes jigs, slow hornpipes and triple-time hornpipes and is selected from the less familiar areas of the English traditional spectrum, including a few new compositions. In particular, Nick contributes a couple of attractive waltzes. Mary's songs, Gypsy's Wedding and Bonny Bunch of Roses appear in unusual settings, the latter wed wittily to the tune The Rose Tree.