FLOW Review in The Living Tradition Magazine


There is more than one group sporting the word Nua - or “new” - in its name. This is the second album by the Canadian trio of that ilk and a very fine effort it is too. It is also one of those recordings where the finished product is far more interesting than the breakdown of who plays what suggests it is going to be.

The trio from Toronto have a line-up which consists of Graeme McGillivray (guitars, etc), James Law (fiddle) and Jacob McCauley (bodhrán). If that sounds a little heavy in the rhythm section, fear not, because the bodhrán is played with such dexterity and subtlety that it almost counts as the carrier of an extra melody line. That helps to balance what would otherwise be very much James Law's album. He has a style of his own, specifically Canadian, but separate from the robust French-Canadian tradition.

Nua's reference points are in the Scots and Irish music they heard in their youth, although this collection is entirely self-composed. That could be just a tad repetitive if it was not for their sublime playing, in the same way that another of the scene's shorter named trios, Lau, could be, if it was all about the musicianship and nothing else. The track Rest In Pineapple/ The Rushin' Draggin' is a good example of how they keep the mix fresh and varied, especially when they phase in some irresistible flamenco-style clapping.

There is a lot going on here and the Toronto Nua are well worth a listen, or better still, seeing live.


Feature Article in Penguin Eggs Magazine Winter Edition


‘Nua’ in Gaelic means ‘new’, and for Toronto-based NUA it stands for the trio’s  approach to creating adventurous and contemporary Celtic tunes inspired by tradition. It’s the fruit of a close friendship between fiddler James Law, guitarist Graeme McGillivray, and bodhrán player Jacob McCauley, who with Bold (2013) and Flow (2016) have delivered two of the finest Canadian Celtic roots albums of recent years, each one bursting with fresh and exciting ideas, magnifying the sonic scope of Scottish and Irish music.

Though the trio came together five years ago...


Alex Monaghan's Review of FLOW in FolkWorld


This Toronto trio plays a contemporary take on Irish and Scottish traditional music: fiddle based, with virtuoso James Law taking the lead, supported by Graeme McGillivray and Jacob McCauley on guitars and bodhrán. Flow is their second album, perhaps more considered than their brash debut Bold, and a little less energetic too. Not that this album drags its feet - far from it. The crooked-sounding slip jig Heads and Tails fairly scampers along, and the funky reel Denver has all the mad thrill of a cop chase on horseback, urged on by super-skilful guitar and bodhrán. Most of the music here is at a more relaxed pace, though, and most of the tracks actually flow together with no obvious break in the recording. Once again, this is a very impressive album with a surprisingly full sound for an unaugmented trio.

All the tunes here are claimed by Law, McGillivray, or both - but there are clear echoes of traditional melodies too. Full House owes more than a little to the Irish showpiece reel The Dawn, and Pat Came Back recalls several Scottish classics. Virginia Jigs hint at Irish ancestry, especially the second one - aptly titled The Second One. The slightly Asian electric guitar on Manic Breakfast comes as a surprise in the middle of this CD, and the following Uphill Battle also breaks the celtic mould with a more contemporary classical feel - think Penguin Cafe Orchestra or David Grubb's High Rise album. Smuggler's Cove brings us back to familiar shores, and Rest in Pineapple is fun fiddling at its finest. (Nice mandolin here from McGillivray too.) Scott's Whisky sees Nua finally cut loose, lovely delicate tipping from Jacob on another trad-flavoured jig before James and Graeme fire into a modern up-tempo reel on fiddle and tenor banjo.

As with Nua's debut CD,[53] I'm reminded of the Tartan Amoebas, Bongshang and Shooglenifty back in the 90s, but also of newer groups: Moxie, At First Light, The Chair, and the fiddling of Hanneke Cassel on many of the slower tracks. The Jacobite has a whiff of Wolfstone about it, a slow air to set beside Hector the Hero or Chisholm's Beinn a' Cheathaich. The album cover also makes great use of the distinctive paintings of Eva McCauley, giving a strong visual resemblance to Nua's previous release. The final track reinforces the moody flowing lines of Eva's skyscapes with a brooding 11/8 air followed by the twisted jig Midnight Sunset. So many reasons to seek out Flow: Nua have samples on their website.
© Alex Monaghan


FLOW review by Celtic Life International Magazine


Canadian trad-trio Nua build upon the success of their 2014 debut Bold with a solid and satisfying sophomore effort; Flow is flush with both fast flowing melodies and songs as lush as the Irish landscape. It’s amazing how far three instruments – guitar, fiddle and bodhrán – can take traditional tunes when this kind of award-winning talent is in abundance. From the opening notes of Wide Open to the closing run of YK Inn, these 12 terrific tracks will have listeners tapping their toes and, for ex-pats, wiping a tear from the eye. Highlights here include The Jacobite, Wasabi, and the pseudo-country styling of Manic Breakfast. A lock for major North American festivals, be sure to catch the band on tour in the coming months.


FLOW review by The Bright Young Folk


Toronto-based instrumental trio NUA are fiddle player James Law, guitarist Graeme McGillivray and bodhrán player Jacob McCauley. The band draws on Scottish and Irish folk traditions. Flow is their second album and follows their well-received debut Bold, which came out in 2013.

A nice, clean, uncluttered sound, it is the interaction of the rhythms of the guitar and the bodhrán with the melodies of the fiddle that really make this band. However, that is not to suggest for a moment that the guitar and the bodhrán just remain in the background while the fiddle takes centre-stage. Launching their new album, Jacob McCauley recently explained, “We wanted to have three members that equally share the spotlight so to speak. Where each member can take on multiple roles depending on what is going on musically. Obviously when it comes down to it, we only have one melody player, but the guitar and bodhrán both have their moments to speak melodically instead of just rhythmically. The fiddle also has times to lay back and keep a more rhythmic feel or a more subtle drone.”

The result is an album of twelve original self-composed tunes, half joint compositions by fiddle-player, Law, and guitarist, McGillivray, and the remainder written solely by one or the other.

Opening track Wide Open makes for an uplifting start and sets the album up nicely, beginning with some bright, sunny-sounding guitar before being joined by some lovely fiddle that darts and dances around.

A whole album of instrumentals, regardless of how good each individual tune is, does need light and shade, depth and colour and several changes of gear to maintain the attention of most listeners, however. This CD is one that meets those challenges even, at times, within a single tune.

The excellent Ghostrider, for example, starts off with a very gentle and soothing melody but gradually gets more and more frenetic, drawing the listener in until finally, at the very, very end, the tune draws to a close with all the soothing gentleness with which it began.

A fresh and vibrant take on traditional Celtic music, a strong collection of original tunes and some inspired interplay between the three musicians, NUA are likely to continue cementing their reputation on the folk scene and no doubt pick up a few more awards with this, their second album.


Drew Marshall Show Radio Interview

NUA: A glimpse into their upcoming album and more


BOLD, the highly acclaimed debut album from the Canadian trad trio NUA has been an artistic achievement. Now they are working on something else exciting… a new album. I initially talked to fiddler, James M. Law for the interview but he was in the middle of teaching at a fiddle camp in British Columbia, so he handed me over to bodhrán player, Jacob McCauley. It’s a collection of ideas from...


I Am Entertainment Magazine Review of BOLD


NUA's latest 14 track release, BOLD, is an amazing Folk/Celtic release that makes a
strong bid for instrumental album of the year. I don't get excited that often about
non-vocal albums, but BOLD is definitely something worth getting a bit pumped up about.
James M Law (fiddle), Graeme McGillivray (guitar), and Jacob McCauley (bodhran) bring
together their masterful music skills to create some of the most amazing compositions I've
heard so far this year...


BOLD Review in Irish Music Magazine


There’s more than one band called Nua, which is of course a Gaelic word for “new”. This particular Nua is a trio based out of Toronto, playing what is loosely Irish traditional music with a healthy dose of contemporary Canadian influences. James Law’s fiddle provides the lead, confident virtuoso playing all up the fingerboard. Graeme McGillivray and Jacob McCauley build supporting pillars on guitar and bodhrán, creating a sound which is full and varied...


BOLD Amongst FolkWorld's and Alex Monaghans Best Albums of 2013


Click Read More for the complete list of FolkWorld's and Alex Monaghan's Best Albums of 2013


FolkWords Review - BOLD by Canadian trio NUA - freshness thriving on spontaneity and innovation


Instrumental albums always run the risk of ‘sameness’. It’s not so much a case of running out of ideas it’s the often the listener abandoning attention. There’s that temptation to lose concentration and allow the music to slide into the background. However, with their debut album ‘BOLD’, Canadian trio NUA have achieved a freshness that thrives on a...


FolkWorld Issue #53 Review of BOLD


An energetic fiddle, a driving guitar and a bodhran – this is all that is to Nua and to this album – and you would not want anything more. “Bold” features mainly compositions of James and Graeme, primarily in a Scottish-Canadian trad style, presented with style and skill. Hats off to...


BOLD Review - Because Music Matters


NUA are an exciting and vivacious trio of traditional musicians from Canada: fiddle player James M Law, guitarist Graeme McGillivray and bodhrán player Jacob McCauley. Their debut album is Bold, in more ways than one, it being a perfect metaphor for their driving, energetic repertoire. There is...


The Bright Young Folk Review - NUA - BOLD


Canadian trio Nua draw heavily on Scottish and Irish influences, although most of their material is original. Combining the guitar of Graeme McGillivray, the fiddle of James Law and the bodhran of Jacob McCauley, they have produced a debut album of...


Album Review - BOLD - The Celtic Crier


NUA is a trio of men out of Toronto, Canada. Their CD, "Bold", is a testimony to the remarkable talent they share. I was pleasantly surprised to discover this 14 track album is all instrumental.

The first three times I listened to "Bold" I was...


NUA - BOLD: Nothing Timid About This Debut


NUA comes out of Toronto, Canada, but their sound is a blend of Irish and Scottish influences- complete with bodhrán- and features both traditional and original, and they do it exquisitely. While the group might be new and debuting with their album, Bold, the constituent members are award-winners in their own right already. McCauley especially has been highlighted because of his percussion skills, but all three are solid artists who work together to create a stunning tapestry out of...


Album Review - BOLD


Bold is the new debut album by Canadian group Nua whose members include Jacob McCauley on bodhrán, James Law on fiddle and Graeme McGillivray on guitar. Rooted in traditional Irish and Scottish music their music absorbs external influences from...


Thank Folk For That


There is something that makes Celtic music seem like such a relief from the ‘regular’ music you hear every day, and bands like NUA make that all more true. Rather than simply being an energetic collection of folk-type instruments, as you would expect, NUA’s back-catalogue is a whole collection of twists and turns...


Bold by NUA (Review/Track Analysis)


Bold is an album that has been conceived meticulously and produced artfully. Every track, every nuance is captured and believe me when I say that there is not a single track in this album that fails to induce a smile...


NUA, Working On Their Full-Length Album


Something is cooking in the studio of this wonderful Canadian trio NUA. Yes you must have read my interview and review and you can tell by my enthusiasm that they won me over...


Radio Interview on the Wee Dan's Hoose Show


Radio interview on the Wee Dan's Hoose show about the origins of NUA, member history, info about the EP and a live studio performance of The Hijack.  Click here for the full interview...


The Story Behind the Trio(Interview)


With a new EP just released and a full length album on its way, how interesting life is with these three Canadian lads who are filled with a cornucopia of musical ideas? And...


Album Review


This is an EP which features Tradconnect member Jacob McCauley, James M Law and Graeme McGillivray and introduces us to their new group called NUA...


Review over Cappuccino


Making waves: Irish/Scottish Traditional Music, Experimental, Fusion trio from Toronto Canada...


New Canadian Group


For those of you that may have missed this new group when they posted a video recently on the site, it is worth a quick reminder. For a group with just...


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