Transcendent is a word that lends itself well to the music of the Anglo-Irish band Flook, who won the Best Group gong at the BBC Folk Awards in 2006. In an intimate concert for the sixth-formers of St Martin's School in Essex, the evocative musical talents of the band were well appreciated, as was their willingness to converse with the audience about their influences.
The atmosphere was heavy with anticipation as the band arrived on stage. The opening song, "Wrong Foot Forward", from their latest album, Haven, firmly established the skill of the flute-players, Sarah Allen and Brian Finnegan (who achieved a perfect blend of pace and delicacy), the fluidity of the woodwind players, and Ed Boyd's mellow acoustic guitar-playing, all set against against the timbre of John Joe Kelly on the bodhran (an Irish frame drum).
The second set, consisting of jigs, took inspiration from this close-knit band's travels, encompassing elements of traditional Irish folk in songs such as "The Mist on the Mountain". Finnegan poignantly dedicated "The Last of the Stars" to his late grandmother – his technique in this lyrical piece could not be faulted, and neither could his emotional sincerity.
John Joe Kelly, renowned as one of the world's best players of the bodhran, excelled in his solo, providing a driving, rhythmic escapade that engaged the audience. He managed to subvert preconceptions of the genre and strike a chord with the crowd.
There is a real sense that this talented band is open to new ideas, and that while their music is rooted in personal experience, they have no inhibitions about tackling a range of themes. That they continue to accumulate fans and accolades is no "flook".
Jessie Bland, sixth-form student, Basildon