Metta. Spiegeltent. Edinburgh Festival. Julia Pascal.


Metta is a traditional Buddhist word that means loving kindness and friendliness towards all.  This new group led by Damian Helliwell promises to break new ground in contemporary Scottish music and the result is exciting.  The group is an attractive ensemble featuring bravura musician Elidh Shaw on fiddle, Andy Thorburn on piano, Jenny Hill on double bass and Donald Hay on percussion.

What I liked about Metta was the way it seems to be both traditional and modern.  It is clear that Helliwell is tenderly exploring this mix of classical and contemporary within a Scottish  cultural scene but he also is unafraid to splice with jazzy moments and also to free up the reserve when he moves into a Slovenian number.  If you shut your eyes you can imagine that this music is coming from an older group of Balkan Roma as the sound is so relaxed and joyful.

Metta is a young team with great skill and engagement.  They had their audience up and dancing which, on a damp Edinburgh Tuesday, was a great achievement.  Highly recommended.

Julia Pascal © 2014.