Varo are Lucie Azconaga and Consuelo Nerea Breschi, a fiddle and vocal duo based in Dublin who perform traditional Irish songs and tunes with arrangement influences from the baroque and classical traditions, weaving around the melodies with harmonies, drones and countermelody. Lucie, from France, and Consuelo, from Italy, met in 2015 after moving to Dublin to pursue their love for Irish traditional music, and immediately started a fruitful collaboration. They travelled to Ireland along different musical paths, Lucie from jazz, classical music, and French folk, Consuelo from Irish trad, folk, and world music. Lucie and Consuelo have been involved in various other projects, such as Landless, Lisa O' Neill's Band, Ye Vagabonds, The Morning Tree, Alasourse, The Nomadic Piano Project. Since Lucie and Consuelo started working together in 2015, they have been gathering a repertoire of songs from Ireland, Scotland, and England, along with a selection of Irish tunes collected from archives, sessions, and from singers and musicians they admire.
Varo have also composed two instrumentals and have chosen songs with a specific focus on a female perspective or conveying stories of rebellion in a social context, or both.Their debut album was recorded by Christopher Barry (Ye Vagabonds, Junior Brother) from Ailfionn Studio, and mixed by John Spud Murphy (Lankum, Landless, Crash Ensemble) from Guerilla Sounds.
As Lucie explains "Varo is the name of a river that, centuries ago, used to represent the border between France and Italy, then went from being more French to more Italian, basically through time, it couldn't really choose a nationality... as the two of us, coming from two different countries and finding ourselves falling in love with the Irish music and its culture."
Everything starts with Ye Jacobites By Name, a tune that takes us back in time. Hearing the words " what is right and what is wrong by the law..." you find yourself right in the narrow streets of an unknown town in the Middle Ages, perhaps among the crowd gathered on the square where the execution is going to take place.
The level of musicianship and undertanding of trad music is shown the best in instrumentals such as Bidh Eoin Waltz or Return To The Camden Town (you can't overhear the Irish trad music influence in there).
Another gem from the album is The Doffing Mistress where the exquisite harmonies shine brightly through. The love and passion for music is palpable throughout the album.
As I Roved Out is a well-known song and in these cases people might be reluctant to hear different interpretations but Varo have successfully made the song their own, like everything else they've done.
This album presents a perfect example that you don't need to be born in Ireland to be considered Irish. And Lucie and Consuelo are surely Irish in their hearts.