'Quite frankly, the best band in the world right now' Channel 4
In 2004, sat around a kitchen table in Edinburgh, Lau took their first musical steps. Now, to have achieved so much, in so few years, is staggering. The warmth and excitement they generate with each new release, and at every gig, has culminated in armfuls of plaudits, including three consecutive years of being crowned 'Best Group' at the BBC Radio Two Folk Awards.
Their strength partly lies in the pool of knowledge they draw on: Kris Drever grew up on Orkney and is celebrated for his singing and guitar playing - his talents as an accompanist have been sought by folk stars such as Kate Rusby. A well loved performer in his own right, his first solo album, 'Black Water', landed him the Horizon Award for ‘Best Newcomer' at the 2007 BBC Folk Awards. Subsequently, he has written and recorded with John McCusker and, Idlewild front man, Roddy Woomble, on the highly acclaimed 'Before The Ruin’, and released his much anticipated second album, 'Mark The Hard Earth'.
Award-winning fiddler and composer, Aidan O'Rourke (‘Instrumentalist of the Year’ :2006 Scots Trad Music Awards), hails from the Scottish coastal town of Oban. A founder member of Blazin’ Fiddles, Aidan is a major talent and appears on over eighty diverse recordings. He has worked with, amongst many, jazz artist Andy Sheppard, Gaelic singer Alyth McCormack, singer/songwriter Eddi Reader and in his new project KAN, he works closely with equally revered Irish flute player Brian Finnegan. Aidan has written music to celebrate the Dalai Lama's visit to Scotland, whilst his solo works, 'Sirius' and 'An Tobar', encompass all of his musical passions.
Whereas, Martin Green, is from south of the border, East Anglia raised. A true maverick, he is in constant demand for his accordion playing and has toured in the bands of Eliza Carthy, Joan Baez, Linda Thompson and many other great names of folk music. Green was short-listed for the BBC's coveted 'Musician Of The Year' in the 2008 Folk Awards. He is also someone who revels in experimentation during yet another artistic life, The Martin Green Machine: a boundary-defying project which originally formed part of the Celtic Connections’ New Voices series. The debut recording “First Sighting” was released on Navigator Records in 2009.
Lau's recorded output proves they are not married to any staid concept of folk music, or any other genre. Their debut from 2007, 'Lightweights & Gentlemen', was a heady mix of their own freewheeling instrumentals and reworked versions of the trad 'Butcher Boy' and Ewan MacColl's 'Freeborn Man'. Nothing too outlandish there one might think, however, as is the case when goalposts are moved, the impact was immediate with reviewers and fans alike left struggling to sum up the band's charismatic flair and dexterity.
Next up was a live album in 2008, 'Lau Live'. Although, a somewhat unorthodox move for a second release, the trio had already earned themselves an exhilarating reputation at clubs, concert halls and on festival stages. In front of an audience the trio are renowned for pushing their compositions and each other to new heights. With seemingly telepathic musical communication, ten minute epics will be infused with a spectrum of emotion: the perfect foil for Kris's poignant vocal numbers and some eminently quotable stage banter.
The group were on a creative high and won themselves new fans during sold out dates in Tokyo and festival appearances across Canada. Their talents were also being recognised in the mainstream: MOJO magazine commissioned a version of 'Dear Prudence' for a Beatles related cover mounted CD.
Returning to the studio Lau were to surpass themselves once again: 2009's album, 'Arc Light', contained recognizable ingredients, but, at this point, brimming with confidence and daring, the guys augmented their sound with a yearning pedal steel guitar and Kris penned the classic single, 'Wintermoon'. Further originals of sweeping wistfulness and hurtling acoustica ensured a place in the upper reaches of many an end of year poll and a daytime BBC Radio Two session. The same year saw them land the Scots Trad Music Award for ‘Best Live Act’.
Now, 2010, sees Lau embark on a new studio project in the shape of a series of adventurous EP's. First up is a collaboration with the acclaimed Scottish singer/songwriter Karine Polwart (‘Lau vs. Karine Polwart Evergreen‘) to be followed by another with a leftfield supremo, (whose identity is being being kept secret for the time being). Lastly, Lau will be left to their own devices for a take on some much-loved traditional tracks. All this, an orchestral piece, and a live American debut to look forward to!
Lau's creativity transcends all the music they hold dear, creating a cutting edge sound which garners praise from far beyond the roots scene, and their humble beginnings.
‘Lau are so special’ The Guardian
You can listen to short samples from some of the tracks from this artist using the player below.
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