Reviews

warp & weftReviews of Warp & Weft, our first CD

(Reviews of live gigs below – click here; full review of Bratton Clovelly Festival gig, 8.10.16, click here).

“Here we have two terrifically talented musicians…players of many instruments, all to a very high standard…playing music that excites them, from many different genres and cultures. From the slow, weighty lament from Moscow, morphing into gypsy rhythms, to fiendish fiddle tunes based on dark stories from Sweden. This CD takes you to places you didn’t know had such beautiful and/or quirky music. Steve Banks and Mike Cosgrave are superb musicians bringing unexpected gems for our delight. Soulful and fun. What more could you want?”      – Maddy Prior

“There is such a great variation in playing styles on this CD and you soon realise how greatly talented Steve and Mike are. Superb playing and singing, all with a great sense of style and fun ! ”    – Tom McConville

“Cosgrave and Banks are masters of their instruments, their tunes taken from a variety of sources and exquisitely arranged and performed – a real delight for the listener. They also include some fine songs in their set. Highly recommended.” – Pete Cooper

“Cosgrave and Banks are accomplished multi-instrumentalists with fiddle and accordeon to the fore. They have impeccable credentials and between them have played in a number of influential and prestigious bands such as Sin É and the Carnival Band. But CDs do not stand on credentials alone, so I am happy to report that their debut is very good indeed.  If chamber music had a folk end to its spectrum Cosgrave and Banks would be firmly lodged within it. They take traditional tunes, songs and motifs and weave them into exhilarating new compositions…  If you are interested, give more than the opening track a listen or better still, catch them live.” – fRoots magazine

“Mike and Steve have a superlative empathy with their chosen instruments and the carefully chosen music itself… There is so much to recommend on this CD it is difficult to know where to start. I particularly liked the second part of the opening track, Moscow, which has a truly memorable tune. The Canadian set of tunes by Oliver Schroer are also a joy to listen to, especially the sound of Steve’s haunting violin. In fact, it is the clarity and vibrant sense of touch that Steve brings to the work throughout the CD that makes Warp & Weft stand head and shoulders above many other contemporary works. This is a truly captivating CD that touches the very depth of being as only music can.”    – The Living Tradition Magazine – read the full review here

Cosgrave & Banks - Starcross Church 11.11.16

performing at Starcross Church, 11.11.16

“A delightfully eclectic album… Two incredible musicians, weaving threads of music together to create material that is greater than the sum of its parts… They both have lovely soft, but deep voices, and they harmonise together well… “Into The Day”, written by Steve, reminds me very much of the soft understated David Gilmour vocals on Pink Floyd records prior to Dark Side Of The Moon.” – FATEA magazine read the full review here

“Does what it says on the tin: this, I guess, will be pretty much what you get live from this gifted and effortlessly musical pair. The production is clear, warm and transparent, allowing their interplay and confident musicianship to carry the day.” – Stirrings magazine

“Weaving a patchwork of tunes that’s the perfect fit… Cosgrave and Banks are both gifted interpreters and adept musicians. Each track captures an essence, from the pathos of the Annbjørg Lien tune, “Tjønneblomen“, to the joyful set of tunes by Canadian fiddler Oliver Schroer. A budding artistic partnership in the making.” – Songlines

 “Cosgrave and Banks weave their way through a world of tunes with brilliance and panache and a fine sense of rapport.”   – Giles Lewin (the Carnival Band, Bellowhead, Dufay Collective, After Hours)

“Gypsy jazz, folk, classical and much more for all those who like the highest standard of musicianship, and fans of the Eel Grinders will love this one. Mike and Steve play so many instruments, too many to list here, as are all the various line-ups they have been part of over the years – seek them out and you will be amazed.” – What’s Afoot (the Devon Folk magazine)

Live gig reviews:

Cosgrave & Banks at Topsham Folk Club, June 2017

Cosgrave & Banks at Topsham Folk Club, June 2017

“An hour with Cosgrave and Banks, one of Devon’s multi-instrumental treasures. Steve Banks’ fiddle ripped through dance tunes from this island and Europe, and the Norwegian hardanger fiddle with its 4 resonating strings was used to greatest effect on an atmospheric Norwegian dance tune. Mike Cosgrave alternated accordion fiddle and whistle, and dry wit to entertain. They had included plenty of vocal extras (with choruses) specially for Topsham but these were given extra embellishment – the Nightingale got a Breton top and tail, the Baring Gould ghost song had a blood-curdling scream from the room and Steve’s own songs had tag choruses and subtle key changes (did I notice?) to keep the congregation on their toes. Nice, night, nice crowd, great music.” –  Alan Rosevear, Topsham Folk Club (see the video of this performance on the Audio/Video page.)

Cosgrave & Banks at Cheriton Fitzpaine, June 2017

Cosgrave & Banks at Cheriton Fitzpaine, June 2017

“Last Friday, my village church hosted Mike Cosgrave and Stephen Banks for an evening of truly fabulous music. The church looked lovely with some fairy lights and little table lamps on a small stage, cushions scattered across the pews and by the middle of the evening, the twinkle of many wine-glasses dotted around on that handy little ledge in front of the seats! Mike and Steve played a sublime concert, complete with quirky little intros, that took us on a sumptuous musical journey far and wide across the UK and Europe. It was one of those really very satisfying evenings when it all really worked! I highly recommend booking Cosgrave and Banks if you haven’t already (or a repeat visit!).” – post to the Devon Promoters In Action facebook group by Rebecca Smith, who worked with the Villages In Action Devon rural touring scheme.

“Cosgrave and Banks gave us a fine evening’s entertainment with an eclectic mix of material, underpinned by top quality musicianship. Instrumental pieces from around the globe were intermixed with fine versions of traditional songs and some excellent self-penned material. Steve and Mike provide technical mastery across a varied and highly entertaining programme – a rare combination indeed!” – Anton Horwich, co-organiser, Folk On The Moor folk club

“Cosgrave and Banks are consummate musician’s and gave a very memorable performance last Friday. Combining folk music of the world and their own new material, together with humorous and informative links between numbers. Polished and technically flawless, and thoroughly engaging and entertaining throughout the evening.” – Michael and Rebecca Alnatt, Principle Bass, and ‘Cello, in the Peninsular Arts Orchestra

“Thank you SO much for your performance on Friday evening, it was phenomenal. We all had such a wonderful time and I’ve already received various messages about how amazing you were.” – Eleanor Moss, Brixham Library

C&B Bratton Clovelly Festival 8.10.16

Performing at Bratton Clovelly, 8.10.16. Photo: Adrian Wallwork

“They use the interplay of various instruments (sometimes you’re convinced there must be more than two people playing!) to produce a sound that is endlessly imaginative and richly textured, sometimes witty, sometimes haunting. At times, the melodies go on unpredictable journeys, no one piece prepares you for the next and yet, each is intensely satisfying with its own particular integrity. They set the audience at ease, chatting, bantering, giving context to the music, explaining musical origins and instruments. The audience sat back, relaxed and enjoyed the good time they’d come for. It’s not always that I hear music that makes me smile quite so much as this music did. And judging by the smiles on other people’s faces, I wasn’t alone. One man exclaimed to me in the interval: ‘Where did you find these blokes – they’re brilliant!’ Well, . . . we found them in Devon.” – Joanna Wallwork, Chair, Bratton Clovelly Festival (www.brattonclovellyfestival.com. Full review, click here.)

“Fantastic gig at Ilsington Village Hall last week – loved the mixture of international folk music, great rhythms and entertaining banter! What a talented pair you are.” – Julie Boultby

“A delightful evening at Totnes Folk Club on Thursday.  Superb musicianship from Steve Banks & Mike Cosgrave with such a variety of material”.  – Anne & Steve Gill, organisers of Totnes Folk Club & Teignmouth Folk Festival

“I have had a joyous evening of exceptional music. I think this duo produces one of the most exciting sounds I have heard in years.” – Becca Reece, audience member at Ilsington Village Hall 

“The technical ability, passion and sensitivity demonstrated by these two musicians is at the top of what you would hear from a folk musician who specialises in the traditional music of their own country; that they maintain this level of brilliance across a wide range of musical traditions is astonishing and a joy to listen to. Treat yourself! ” – Bruce Millar, regular performer at Totnes Folk Club

“I had to write to say how much we enjoyed your concert at Highweek the other day. You guys are obviously so talented individually but I loved how you blended the instruments, your eclectic, fascinating arrangements and the witty intros. With it’s folk base your music always spoke straight to the heart. We loved it. Thank you!” – Lindsay Braga, violinist, Divertimento String Quartet

Cosgrave & Banks at Folk on the Moor

Performing at Folk on The Moor, 8.11.15

“Brilliant performance at Totnes Folk Club last night – thank you for sharing your talent and wonderful music!!” – Facebook post 

“Steve and Mike have a great sound together, felt like they’ve been playing together for years.  Two very accomplished and versatile musicians. Right from the off you knew you were in for an enjoyable evening. Plenty of variety in material and great arrangements; the Nordic tunes sent shivers up the spine.” – Julia Thomas

“Brilliant Villages in Action gig last Thursday in Coronation Hall, Mary Tavy. Great turnout. Everyone enjoyed it. Thanks to Steve and Mike.” – Margaret Aston, ViA promoter, Mary Tavy

“I saw Cosgrave and Banks play last week. I loved it. They were able to bring the essence of so many different countries; musically and tonally it was so restful because they are so good. Steve Banks has written beautiful and moving pieces, he has such authority with his instrument – particularly the fiddle. He’s funny both verbally and musically, thoughtful, intelligent, passionate, lovely to look at! And I thought, who needs to go to hear Ally Bain and Phil Cunningham?! Have a treat and go see them!” – Heather Nicholson, audience member, Totnes Folk Club 

“Masterful variety and depth of feeling. It’s really wonderful to see instruments played with such subtlety and verve. A great night!” – Ron Pyatt, audience member at Villages in Action gig, Mary Tavy

“A great evening last week at Highweek Village Hall. A great selection of music from around the world interspersed with some original songs. Great ensemble playing and highly accomplished musicianship!” – Cathryn Honey, viola, Four Seasons Quartet

“Cosgrave and Banks gave us a mesmerising performance of folk music from all round Europe, full of virtuosity, passion and gentle beauty. A very special evening.” – Kip Pratt, violinist, ceilidh caller, music teacher

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