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Manchester still the connection uniting Aizle

By Margaret Chrystall

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BORN in Manchester where Aizle’s five musicians were based and met – linked by Inverness musician Graham Mackenzie – Aizle now live across three countries.

So the concert on Friday as part of the Croy Live series at the village hall will be a rare chance to catch them playing together.

Graham explained: “Myself, Stewart Wilson the bass player and Jim Molyneux (piano) were all studying at the Royal Northern College of Music and I was the link between the two sides because guitarist Joe Bardwell and Ciaran Clifford (whistles) were also in Manchester but not studying music.

“I met them from going to the Irish sessions in Manchester. Myself and Ciaran and Joe played together every week.

“I think our first gig would have been 2016, but we were playing together before that.”

The traditional mainly Irish music they played with flashes of jazz and the classical background three of them share, led to a busy start to the life of Aizle – which means ‘spark’ in Scots.

“We did a wee tour back in 2017, played Celtic Connections and we were over in Belgium doing a festival in September 2017 and then last year the Big Whistle Festival in Manchester,” Graham said.

“Now we are based all over the place. Jim and Joe are in London, Stuart is in Edinburgh, I am in Glasgow mainly and Ciaran is now in Dublin.

“It’s very tricky to get together.”

There are hopes that Aizle will do just that later this year to record again, following up last year’s Christmas track and 2017’s EP.

“It is purely instrumental music we play at the moment, but slowly we are adding in tunes of our own.”

And though none of Aizle live there any more, Manchester is still the connection.

Graham said: “As the band formed in Manchester we have picked quite a few tunes from the city, so we play a couple by the fiddle player Colin Farrell and also Mike McGoldrick.

“I think those would kind of distinguish us as a Manchester band.”

• Aizle play Croy Village Hall on Friday, May 3 from 7.30pm with support from Inverness singer songwriter Iain Gordon Macfarlane. For tickets £12 (£6 under 16) call 01463 794823.

• ALSO: Coming to a hall near you! Read Liza Mulholland’s ArtyNess column here: https://www.whatson-north.co.uk/whats-on/music/at-a-hall-near-you-177323/

• Read a review of the last Croy Live event we covered: https://www.whatson-north.co.uk/whats-on/music/review-nordic-fiddlers-bloc-174095/

• An early glimpse of Aizle live soon after they got together ...

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