Elan is the second album by Rachel Hair (clarsach) and guitarist Ron Jappy. Their material and, indeed, their inspirations come from far and wide: Cape Breton to the Isle of Man and New Zealand to Brittany.

The opening set comprises two Rachel Hair originals, both slip jigs that bound along joyfully. They are followed by ‘Daybrak’, another Hair original paired with the Tom Anderson tune that gives the set its name. Both are beautiful tunes and by now I was hooked and my admiration was only increased by ‘Tom Toi’s Polkas’, which include two traditional tunes, one Irish and one English. ‘McLeods Of Waipu’ gives Ron a chance to ease his way to the front – Rachel playing flat out is something of a force of nature!

There is a classic march, strathspey and reel set, a pair of waltzes for which you’d have to be particularly light on your feet, a four-part reel which almost gives Ron another chance to shine, and a trio of Cape Breton jigs including, inevitably, one by Jerry Holland. Ceo Na Calliche comes a stow air with twostrathspeys, the second written by Rachel. Finally, To The Rock which closes the show, is a trio of Manx tunes and one of three tracks that fearture bodhran by Adam Brown.

Élan is an album which, through the dynamism of Rachel’s playing, raisin spirits, and that’s no bad thing these days.

Dai Jeffries