VAMM is Patsy Reid, Catriona Macdonald and Marit Fält.
Two fiddles and a Låtmandola.
Patsy is the former fiddle player with the loud and brilliant Breabach. Catriona spent 12 years as one of the world-renowned Blazin’ Fiddles. Marit also performs in a duo with the BBC Radio Scotland Young Trad Musician of the Year, Rona Wilkie.
VAMM is an old Shetlandic word meaning to bewitch or entrance. It’s a good sounding word, and there aren’t many groups that start with a ‘V’.
Having previously played in bands that required tight unison playing, power and volume, VAMM formed out of a shared wish to explore the possibilities of harmony, melody and rhythm with like-minded musicians.
VAMM is not a traditional trio. Not in the way you might expect. Their repertoire doesn’t rely on the slow strathspeys, Shetland reels or Scandinavian polskas these musicians are best known for.
Contemporary tunes from the talents of Lau’s Aidan O’Rourke and composer Jim Sutherland sit alongside 19th century four-to-the-floor reels, modern pieces by up-and-coming musicians and the group’s own compositions. VAMM’s sound is led by the strength of the melody and harmonic beauty rather than their cultural backgrounds.
VAMM’s combination of intricate, lyrical arrangements and bass-thumping rhythm means that at this year’s Celtic Connections festival they went from the awed silence of a theatre concert to the dancing and hollering of a late night club crowd – with the same material. It’s music that’s equally at home in folk gatherings or classical concert halls; in enormous tents or intimate rooms.
This is the sound of three extremely gifted musicians pushing themselves to the limits of their ability. You’ve never heard anything quite like VAMM.
Wait, what’s a Låtmandola?
Also known as a Nordic mandola. The instrument was developed in the early 90s by multi-instrumentalist Ale Möller and luthier Christer Ådin. Such is its tonal range, some gig goers have demanded to know where VAMM are hiding their bass player.