Trad group Lau play Newbridge’s Riverbank tonight

A wild trad session with a twist is promised at Newbridge’s Riverbank Arts Centre tonight as Scottish band Lau take to the stage.

A wild trad session with a twist is promised at Newbridge’s Riverbank Arts Centre tonight as Scottish band Lau take to the stage.

The group are a wildly inventive mix of traditional folk instrumentalists mixed with modern compositions and a flair for improvisation on stage that has given them a reputation as a great live act.

The group are critical darlings, having been named Best Group at the BBC Radio Two Folk Awards for three consecutive years from 2002 - 2008. They have also won praise from the likes of the Guardian and Channel 4, who called them “the best band in the world right now”.

But that doesn’t mean they’re a stuffy niche act.

“We get a good cross section in the audience, which is quite interesting,” singer and guitarist Kris Drever told the Leinster Leader. “There are quite a lot of indie kids tipping up to the gig, as well as the avant garde jazz aficionados!”

Lau formed around a kitchen table in Edinburgh in 2004 when Drever, fiddle player Aidan O’Rourke and accordionist Martin Green came together to create a cutting-edge new musical sound.

The trio are all well-known traditional musicians. Drever’s first solo album ‘Black Water’ won him the Horizon Award for ‘Best Newcomer’ at the 2007 BBC Folk awards. O’Rourke is an award winning fiddler who has been recently commissioned to compose a work for the 2012 Olympics, and Green has toured with the likes of Eliza Carthy and Joan Baez.

Lau gives them the opportunity to take their sound to another level. As Drever puts it “we spend a lot of our lives playing traditional music, so this group is an outlet for something else”.

In the past past eight years, they have released a several albums, collaborated with artists such as Cream’s Jack Bruce, Scottish singer-songwriter Karine Polwart and Adem, as well as earning their reputation as an exciting live act.

Lau are touring until Autumn, when they will head back to studio to record their next album. A lively night is definitely on the cards tonight at the Riverbank. Tickets are E15 from www.riverbank.ie or the box office at 045 448327. The gig starts at 8pm.

- Laura Coates