There are many reasons to be excited about new Glasgow-based five-piece Ímar – not least a line-up featuring current and former members of Mànran, RURA, Talisk, Barrule, Cara, Mabon and The Lowground, whose collectively crammed trophy-cabinet includes a BBC Young Folk Award and several All-Britain/All-Ireland titles. By far the best and biggest reason, however, is how excited the band are themselves.
Ímar’s formation embodies a more personal reconnection with its members’ formative years, dating back long before their recent camaraderie around Glasgow’s justly celebrated session scene. All five of them – also including fiddler Tomás Callister and bouzouki ace Adam Rhodes (Barrule/Mabon), both from the Isle of Man, plus Glasgow native Mohsin Amini (Talisk) on concertina – originally met as teenagers through Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann, the Irish traditional music network that tutors budding players throughout the British Isles and beyond, and stages the annual schedule of Fleadh competitions.
It’s this combined commonality and diversity of background and influences that fuels Ímar’s unmistakable synergy, centered on the overlapping cultural heritage between Scotland, Ireland and the Isle of Man. All three places once shared the same Gaelic language – the name Ímar comes from a 9th-century king who reigned across this combined territory – and a similar kinship endures between their musical traditions.
So look out, world; light the blue touch-paper and stand well back – Ímar are on their way!