Exactly a year after the release of their debut New Anything, English instrumental trio Leveret return with In The Round, a new live recording of instrumental music played spontaneously for a live audience. Recorded during one concert in an octagonal church in Derbyshire, the album continues Leveret’s mission of rediscovering and re-imagining tunes from archive sources, and features the distinctive interaction between players for which their live performances are renowned.
Leveret comprises three of the top instrumentalists in English folk music. Fiddler Sam Sweeney is the current BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards ‘Musician of the Year’, thanks to his work in Bellowhead, Eliza Carthy’s Wayward Band, The Full English and his own Made In The Great War project. Melodeon genius Andy Cutting is a two-time winner of that award, and as well as his new trio with Martin Simpson and Nancy Kerr currently performs with Blowzabella, Topette, June Tabor, and Roger Daltry. Concertina wizard Rob Harbron is known for his work with The Full English (Best Group and Best Album BBC Folk Awards 2014), Emma Reid, Fay Hield, Jon Boden and others.
Leveret’s work as a trio sounds unlike anything else. Their music is not arranged at all in the conventional sense; instead it is played entirely in the moment, combining consummate musicianship, compelling delivery and captivating spontaneity in a sound that is timeless and natural yet also fresh and contemporary. The material may come from archive sources and manuscripts, but there is nothing academic or historical about the sound: it’s warm, listenable, engaging and refreshing, a massage for the ears.
The English folk tradition has not always valued its instrumental repertoire as highly as some of our neighbours, and yet the tunes exist in their thousands in manuscripts and archives. For every tune in current circulation, there are dozens more waiting to be rediscovered. Leveret’s music has helped inspire a growing interest in instrumental music; In The Round doesn’t always fit into what has come to be known as ‘the English style’ but it’s without doubt a current and contemporary recording of English repertoire by three top-notch instrumentalists with deep roots in the tradition.