Methera: Methera (YAN001)

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Methera in Concert (TAN002)

Methera in Concert (TAN002)

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Vortex (TET003)

Methera In Concert featuring Kerr Fagan Harbron (TAN002) 
Live album released November 2010 

• fRoots - October 2010 
• Musician Magazine - October 2010 
• The Strad - November 2010 
• Bright Young Folk - November 2010 
• Lira - 2010 
• Taplas - January 2011 
• R2 - Jan/Feb 2011

"Methera's trailblazing debut CD appeared in 2008, since when they've been creating a stir with their intense and involving live performances." 
"An ensemble ever more confidently exploring that murky territory lying between folk and chamber music - and having a whale of a time doing so." 
"As live recordings go, this is state of the art." 
For full review visit fRoots online

Musician Magazine 
"Innovative chamber folk

Lucy Deakin (cello), John Dipper and Emma Reid (fiddles) plus Miranda Rutter (viola) are an ensemble fast-garnering critical acclaim for their roots based music. Recorded live at London's Cecil Sharp House in the Autumn of 2009, their debut album reflects the quartet's thrilling, innovative blend of folk and chamber styles. Touches of Irish Jigs arrive with stately confidence, leaving you marvelling at the intricacy and skill on display. Also featured is the esteemed trio of Kerr Fagan Harbron, who add a special dash of folk flavouring to the proceedings and enable 'Three Galleys' to act as a wonderful climax. "


The Strad 
"If you have doubts over whether the string quartet is a natural medium for traditional music - and I did - the Methera will leave you converted. This young foursome plays with a sense of flow and freedom that can only come through a deep understanding of the idiom, yet at the same time the player's early classical training means the group takes the chamber ensemble concerns of intonation, balance and textural clarity in its stride.

The music on this, Methera's second album, ranges from English hornpipes and jigs to landscape-inspired originals. The skilful arrangements are unfussy and rich in contrasts, with the group happy to explore colours and voicings rather than experiment with form, effects or tricksy time signatures. There are no attention seeking viruosics, but each instrument has space to shine, from Lucy Deakin's bobbing and weaving cello in Stepping Stones to Emma Reid's sweetly singing fiddle in her Magdalenas vals, a real charmer of a tune that turns on a gently rocking, falling figure inspired by a phrase in Bach's E major Partita.

The vocal-instrumental trio Kerr Fagan Harbron injects a shot of full-on folkiness into the song Three Galleys, where, propelled by bouzouki and mandolin the strings whip up a crowd-pleasing climax.

The live sound is warm and pleasingly focused, if not the last word in clarity. Though this may have been something to do with the group's practice of performing in an inward-facing circle." 
Peter Somerford

Bright Young Folk 
"Compiled using recordings taken from their recent live tour, ‘In Concert’ is Methera's second album. Joined by numerous collaborators on their tour, ranging from the Northern Sinfonia to Karen Tweed & Roger Wilson, ‘In Concert’ also features their collaboration with Kerr Fagan Harbron.

Combining elements of classical chamber music with their rich knowledge of the folk genre, this string quartet is forging a new musical path for themselves within the British traditional music scene.

‘Three Galleys’ - featuring Nancy Kerr, James Fagan and Robert Harbron - is the sole song on the album. With three extra instrumental lines added to the rich quartet sound, the combined strings provide a driving accompaniment for Kerr Fagan Harbron to take centre stage and tell the tale of the Three Galleys. The conclusion is a musical delight. With seven musicians on stage the resulting sound is massive, and it's easy to understand why the assembled audience bursts into rapturous applause as the final note is played.

The simply but accurately named ‘Fiddle Jigs’ does exactly what it says on the tin - and to great effect. With their toe-tappingly infectious rhythms the fiddles and viola weave in and out of each other, as if the various countermelodies are dancing to their own tune.

‘Old Tricks/ Wittenham Clumps’ is one of the many original compositions on the album and the two tunes really allow Methera to let rip.

Described by the band as "a bit of mad technical fun", ‘Old Tricks’ has the quartet playing in unison for the first half of the tune, before letting each instrumental line wander off to explore the musical landscape. The result is a highly complex and immediately catchy tune which encapsulates the whole concept which underpins Methera as a group - that the string quartet as an ensemble does not have to be confined to the ‘classical’ sphere.

‘In Concert’ is an enigmatic album - a live record but with the sound quality of a studio album. The resulting CD is an absolute delight to listen to and not only marks the four piece out as a highly proficient and engaging live but also one to definitely look out for." 
Mary Stokes

"Lira Likes!

British Chamber Folk. On its new album Methera continues with a mild chamber music interpretation of traditional British folk music as well as self-penned compositions in the same tradition. As a classical string quartet with cello, viola and two violins, the group has a variation in tone that enables the individual numbers to develop into tight, refined arrangements. Deakin, Dipper, Reid and Rutter move musically and geographically through the British landscape and through playing styles that inspire their own music.

The group works delicately in the musical area that can be found between the expressions of western art music and folk music. As listener we are transferred unimpeded from jigs and interpretations of hornpipes and older modes, to be situated in the next moment in the midst of the grandeur of the classical baroque.

Furthermore, parts of the music are characterised by a darker drone-atmosphere that creates a strong suggestive effect. In some tunes the music lingers with repeated phrases that produce an almost minimalistic structure with carefully considered variations.

Methera has developed its music to a subtle art within the given frames of the quartet form." 
Gunder Wålberg (translation from Swedish by Emma Reid) 
Read the original text in Swedish at the Lira website.


"Recorded live, Methera's second album comes over as bolder and more confident than their debut, though that was, in itself, an outstanding piece of work. The foursome combrises Emma Reid and John Dipper (fiddles), Miranda Rutter (viola) and Lucy Deakin (cello).

All contribute new compositions and every one is an absolute delight. Another new tune, by Northumbrian piper Andy May fits like a glove with two others, one each from Playford and John of the Green - the Cheshire Way. Reid's opener, Fine Lady, is a jig with a difference and the others from the band paint vivid landscapes or arise from personal experiences; there's not a weakness among them.

Wales gets a look in, too, with charming version of Phil Tanner's Gower Wassail, with its rare old modalities.

The album also includes a vocal track, courtesy Kerr Fagan Harbron, who also provide additional instrumentation. The song, the traditional Three Galleys, was re-written and sung by Nancy Kerr with the other two adding backing.

This is an album to be treasured. 
Keith Hudson

R2 magazine 
"There is something majestic about Methera. With their line-up of cello, viola and twin fiddles, their precise arrangements just about define chamber folk, turning their traditional tunes and folk-based compositions into the ideal soundtrack for a court masque.

I confess that on seeing them live, I was impressed but curiously unmoved, but this recording suggests that it was just an off night for either them or me. There is emotional depth at the root of Methera's playing, whether it's drawing out the earthy antiquity of 'The Gower Wassail' or conjuring up the untameable spirits of the air - on 'Stepping Stones', and fire - in a set cunningly titled 'Fiddle Jigs'.

The live recording allows the music to breathe and, in spite of the expertise on show, there is a thrilling spark of danger throughout. Nancy Kerr's arrangement of 'Three Galleys' sees the quartet joined by Kerr Fagan Harbron to dramatic effect, adding further density to the layered strings, before leaving it to the quite remarkable four-piece to close on the quite dazzling 'Old Tricks'/'Wittenham Clumps', on which it's hard not to imagine powdered aristocracy shaking their wigs and swinging their pantaloons and crinolines in a quite indecorous manner." 
Oz Hardwick

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