Steeped in the history and mythology of its Celtic and Viking ancestry, the Isle of Man sits quietly in the Irish Sea. Continuously self-governed since its parliament was created by Viking invaders over a thousand years ago, few people outside the Isle of Man know of this singular culture: a language and music so nearly lost, born through recent generations on the tongues of a mere handful of families, it now grows strong again.
On the South of the island lies a summit scarred by the ruins of a once imposing iron-age hill fort. The old stories claim that atop this peak, named ‘South Barrule’, the Celtic God Manannan Mac Lir once dwelt, casting out his cloak of mist to shelter the island and its people from invasion. This inspirational landscape embodies the powerful and striking experience of Barrule in concert.
A fusion of three distinct musical forces – Mabon front-man and accordion wizard Jamie Smith, gifted young fiddle-player Tomas Callister and versatile accompanist Adam Rhodes (Mabon) on bouzouki – Barrule’s fresh approach to traditional Manx music evokes an atmosphere that reflects the diverse natural beauty of the island: from rousing marches, jigs and reels to sorrowful slow airs and beautiful songs sung in both English and the Manx Gaelic language. Stories are told of ancient Celtic Gods, of unrequited love, of the toils of island life. And always the sea is close by.
Formed in 2012, Barrule’s three legs have hit the ground running with major festival appearances including Celtic Connections, WOMAD Charlton Park, Sidmouth Folk Festival, Festival Interceltique de Lorient and the National Celtic Festival in Melbourne. Their debut self-titled album won many plaudits and has been awarded ‘Best Debut’ in the Spiral Earth awards 2014.
The trio’s hotly anticipated second album Manannan’s Cloak was released in May 2015. Recorded in the historic St. Bridget’s Chapel on the Isle of Man’s Nunnery grounds, Barrule enlisted the skills of producer and technician Andy Seward, as well as guest performances from a support cast including Paul McKenna on vocals, Calum Stewart on uileann pipes, Dylan Fowler on lap steel and Tad Sargent on bodhrán; not to mention the homegrown talents of David Kilgallon (piano) and Gregor Joughin (vocals).