Franklin Countys First News

Imar brings explosive Celtic energy to Old South

Members of Glasgow, Scotland based band, Imar include Mohsen Minini (Glasgow), Ryan Murphy (Cork, Ireland), Tomas Callister (Isle of Man), Adam Rhodes(Isle of Man) and Adam Brown (Suffolk, Scotland).

FARMINGTON - The next must see performance features the explosive all male band, Imar, on Tuesday, Sept. 25.

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, Mec Lir and The Lowground, who collectively have a crammed trophy-cabinet. By far the best and biggest reason, however, is how excited the band are themselves.

“As soon as we all sat down to play together properly, it just worked,” says bodhrán player Adam Brown (RURA), originally from Suffolk. “We were a bit stunned, to be honest; all looking round at everyone else, thinking, ‘Is it just me, or was that really good?’”

“It’s definitely more of a pure-drop trad sound than most of the other bands we’re involved in,” adds Cork-born uilleann piper, flautist and whistle player Ryan Murphy (Mànran), “but I think that’s partly why it feels so natural. We’re going back to the music we started out playing – which is ultimately the reason why we’re all here as musicians.”

Ímar’s formation also 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 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.

“We all have a really strong shared background in Irish music – even though we all live in Glasgow, and only Ryan’s actually from Ireland,” Brown says. These foundations underpin many of Ímar’s distinctive qualities, in both instrumentation and material, while also highlighting the cyclical evolution of Scotland’s wider folk scene. Go back a couple of decades or so, and Irish repertoire still predominated at many Scottish sessions and gigs, whereas today Ímar’s sound stands out boldly from the crowd.

Following their musical apprenticeships, the five went their separate ways for a spell. 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.

“Tomás and Adam [Rhodes] have done a lot of research into the Isle of Man’s music, and some of the tunes they’ve unearthed are really quite similar in style to the music from my area in Cork,” Murphy says. ”So we’re blending these elements to sound like one, even though these tunes might not have been played together for hundreds of years. At the same time, we do want to reflect all the different backgrounds, including Scotland, and we also have tunes from Cork that haven’t been widely played further afield. To begin with, we’ve been leaning mainly toward traditional material, but we’ll probably bring in some of our own compositions too, as well as other contemporary tunes. For now, though, it’s great having no fixed parameters – we’re just seeing what happens.”

Doors open at 6 p.m. Jam session kicks off at 6:15 pm and concert follows at 7 pm. Adults $20 and Students $10/$5. Refreshments by donation. Tickets reservations are highly recommended for both of the September concerts by call Debbie at 207-491-5919.

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