Music: Leveret, Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh

Rob Adams, four stars

FIVE minutes into this beautifully presented latest instalment of Soundhouse’s Monday music series, Leveret’s Andy Cutting announced that there would be no singing. This was amusingly couched in a mock officious tone that didn’t quite make it clear whether the trio onstage wouldn’t be including songs in their set-list or that the audience should refrain from bursting into song.

No matter, songs were not required from either party, unless they were songs of praise from the listeners, because there’s a lyrical quality to the music Cutting, on accordion, and his colleagues, concertinist Rob Harbron and fiddler-violist Sam Sweeney, make. Even as they play dance tunes – and much of the two sets consisted of hornpipes, jigs and the like – the melodies unfold like stories, bobbing and bouncing genially.

The trio sit as if round an imaginary kitchen table, teasing the tunes into spontaneous arrangements conversationally. No two Leveret gigs are the same and this development “on the fly”, to use their term, pleasingly blurs the line between the sixteenth and seventeenth century tunes they’ve learned from old manuscripts and the pieces they composed for their all-original third album, Inventions.

It’s mesmerising and lulling by turns and very much in the spirit of the great albums, such as the still glorious, understated Lusignac, that Cutting made with Chris Wood in the 1990s. Fiddle and concertina weave together as the accordion adds a counter melody, subtle passing chords or big rich, church organ-like bass figures, or a whistling, high-pitched harmonic adds an eerie meteorological commentary to one of what Harbron calls his protest songs, which generally have a weather-related theme. I wouldn’t want to add to the problems that rain getting into his wood pile brings but if it produces music this lovely, let it pour.