Eriska performing 'D Sox', arranged by 'Eriska' written by Sam Mabbett at the Mackintosh Club in Helensburgh, Scotland.
Eriska are a six-piece Glasgow-based folk band established in 2016. The band's line up includes members from the traditional music, jazz, and classical courses at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.
The members draw upon their disparate backgrounds and combine rock, jazz and folk styles to create a unique sound using both traditional tunes and band members' original compositions. With musicians from Argentina, the USA and Scotland, they blend many musical traditions together to make a fresh kind of Scottish music.
"I didn’t know what to expect when I first heard Eriska and what a pleasurable surprise it was. This band are destined to go places! Their mix of great trad playing combined with funk and rock backline is really well thought out and they would be an amazing band for festivals to book - people will be on their feet in no time! I look forward to seeing their name at many festivals across the land."
- Simon Thoumire (Director of Hands up for Trad)
"This Glasgow-based sextet has only been together for two years, but their debut album is seriously impressive. Majoring in pipes, fiddle and accordion, Eriska's instrumental prowess is clear from the opening Duncan Johnstone jig, Ray Anderson. Their material is a mix of traditional and contemporary compositions, plus a lot of their own tunes, all close to mainstream Scottish folk with a few outside influences and bags of rock rhythms. Fiddle Bee by Madeleine Stewart, the band's most prolific composer, sees Dario Palazzo soloing on electric guitar while drummer Gavin Paterson switches from ceilidh mode to cool funk. Madeleine is back again with Cricket Tune, a syncopated jig in the style of The Road To Banff, adding Jerry Holland's Mom's Jig and Brendan Ring's Lisnagun Jig to make an irresistible dance set."
"Guitar, drums, and bass courtesy of Julian Pombo, keep things rocking along throughout At The Wrong Gig. Sam Mabbett's D Sox is dominated by the rhythm section, while the traditional Cutty's Wedding is more balanced between beat and melody. When Scott Figgins switches from whistles to pipes, the tune takes over: the final track is a piping feast, pieces by Fred Morrison and Findlay MacDonald as well as Scott himself. There is a more relaxed middle section to this CD, box-player Aileen Sweeney's lovely air, Sparrow, followed by Stewart's luscious Ole Spider Plate, but the band quickly get funky again for the swing-time Two More Weeks and the jazzy strathspey, Friday Afternoon. The gentle Discharged by Pombo brings us to the big finish, a fitting climax to a very fine CD. I'll be looking out for Eriska appearing live, and I recommend you check out their various social media pages as well as their website for a flavour of their music."
- Alex Monaghan (The Living Tradition)
"Coming from the thriving traditional scene in Scotland, Eriska have just released their debut album. With a collection of degrees in a variety of genres, this album is firmly grounded in their excellent musical training, combining their wide variety of interests to create a confident and assured instrumental album
The opening set is a punchy combination of Ray Anderson by Duncan Johnstone and Jaws of the Pelican by Scott Figgins. The strong melody line up is underpinned by the rock solid rhythm section throughout. While the album is a mix of contemporary and traditional, the majority of the tunes come from fiddle player Madeleine Stewart. Fiddle Bee is a lively set starting with a bouncy hornpipe featuring the accordion playing of Aileen Sweeney before an electric guitar solo transitions into the driving Dariokart. Another strong offering from Madeleine is Spidergate. Starting with a more laid back feel to it, the interplay between the whistle and fiddle is particularly nice before building up to the more energetic Gate 103. Two More Weeks is another more relaxed number, with definitely jazz influences that work really well, especially the electric guitar in the accompaniment. The album finishes with a pipe led set of contemporary tunes, including Nae Pressure from Scott Figgins."
"A standout track with a more traditional feel, Friday Afternoon is a fantastic minor strathspey, with all the clean articulation from the fiddle giving it a good sense of direction and drive. It builds to a really rocky arrangement that does on occasion threaten to drown out the melody. The fantastic fiddle solo seems to reset the balance and all the parts are clear from there to the end. The other stand out track for me is Sparrow, from accordionist and composer Aileen Sweeney. A complete contrast to the rest of the album, it showcases a more lyrical side to the band with a soaring melody and lovely harmonies between the whistle and fiddle. The combination of guitar and keyboard also adds a lot of interest to the accompaniment without overpowering the tune.
This is a great debut album from a young band who can only improve the longer they play together. With a huge wealth of talent and creativity between them, Eriska will be a band well worth watching out for on the live circuit"
- Nicky Grant (Fetea Records)
"High-octane Scottish music for the drive to the right gig."
"Every so often a radio station will produce a playlist of the best songs for driving. The likes of Bruce Springsteen or The Eagles usually figure as top drive-time tunes, but this debut album from Eriska is a perfect alternative soundtrack for heading down the highway on the rain-drenched motorways of the UK. At the Wrong Gig sounds unmistakably Scottish and is for keeping you moving - and keeping your spirits up when you’re not.
Eriska are a six-piece folk-rock band based in Glasgow that includes musicians from New England and Argentina as well as from Scotland. Scott Figgins’ highland bagpipes, whistles and bellow-blown pipes are at the fore, as is Aileen Sweeney’s accordion and Madeleine Stewart’s fiddle, all giving Eriska’s sound a traditional Scottish backbone. But what makes At the Wrong Gig really rock is Gavin Paterson’s spot-on drumming and Dario Palazzo’s guitars, while Julian Pombo’s bass adds a jazz flavour to the whole affair, particularly on tracks like ‘Discharged’. ‘Two More Weeks’ featuring a guitar solo that channels the spirits of Carlos Santana, while ‘Sparrow’ is a rare moment of relaxation. At the Wrong Gig is a high octane and highly enjoyable debut album."
- Tony Gillam (Songlines Magazine)