RURA @ WOMADelaide, Botanic Park, Adelaide 7/3/2020

RURA took me back to some pretty wild Ceilidhs at the Irish Club. They are a four piece band from Scotland and between them play the Bodhran (Celtic hand held drum), keyboards, guitar, fiddle, flute and the highland bagpipes.
Together they play the music of the Scottish and Irish Celts as well as their own compositions which take us on an inspirational musical journey through the land of the Celts.

There is a very emotional moment in their concert where they play a recorded voice over of a legendary Scottish highland bagpipe player who talks about roots and home being a place where you feel “safe and comfortable.” And isn’t this what WOMADelaide does so well, it takes us on a musical journey to other people’s homes and gives their roots place – dignity.

RURA do the evocative, almost filmic music so well – the lochs, the glens, the straths and the Leith come alive to the haunting highland bagpipes of Steven Blake. Images from that wonderful Scottish film, Local Hero come flooding back while listening to these musicians who give Scottish and Celtic music such sumptuous colours and timbres.

They do the same for the Orkney Islands with the beautiful song Catrina’s, this time featuring flautist David Foley. Here, RURA fuse the traditional with contemporary wide open space soundscapes so well.

Guitarist Adrian Brown’s composition The Glorious 45 dedicated to the 45% of Scots who voted for independence at the last referendum featuring fiddle player Jack Smedley gives the audience a sense of Scottish pride that runs right through their music.

The Lasher which could either be about a beautiful girl, or someone who drinks too much has the crowd rockin and reelin. The jigs and the reels are as much a part of Celtic culture as the highly introspective ballads. And when David Foley strikes up a rhythm on his Celtic Drum, the Bodhran – its party time. True to form the many colours of the WOMADelaide crowd start to jig, reel and hornpipe like they have been going to ceilidhs at the Irish Club all of their lives.

RURA have got an easy banter with the crowd and the passion for their music is infectious. If you want a concert where you can dance til you sweat, and then be emotionally moved by haunting Celtic ballads, RURA are a must-see.

WOMAD Review By Bob Becker