Near Far

The Lasses

Dutch duo The Lasses have been touring the world with their versions of traditional songs since 2014. Sophie Janna and Margot Merah met in 2011 at a session in an Irish pub – a fruitful meeting, because a year later there was already a debut album, followed by the albums Daughters (2015) and Undone (2019). Now The Lasses present their new album Near Far, for the second time in collaboration with multi-instrumentalist and producer Janos Koolen. For Near Far, The Lasses delved into the Scottish folk tradition, inspired by their own tours of folk clubs around the Scottish heartland.

The Lasses’ honest, natural style of singing and the great blend of their voices has led to recognition in the international folk world: their song Here Now was chosen as one of the best songs of 2019 by The Bluegrass Situation, while Irish Music Magazine and fRoots praised their “superb” and “sublime harmonies” on 2019 album Undone. Margot Merah and Sophie Janna both released a solo record before rejoining forces on Near Far.

Near Far consists of 12 songs from the Scottish folk tradition, both contemporary – by the likes of Steve Byrne, Brian McNeill and Karine Polwart – and traditional, such as Jock o’ Hazeldean and the Skye Boat Song. There is also one new song, with lyrics based on a poem by Scottish poet Robert Burns. Near Far speaks to the subject many of the songs have in common – being away from the people you love – and also to how The Lasses feel about Scotland: near to the heart, far away in physical distance.


The instrumentation is stripped back, but diverse: Sophie Janna and Margot Merah play the bodhrán, shrutibox, tenor ukulele and acoustic guitar. Stijn van Beek adds low whistle and uilleann pipes. Janos Koolen contributes electric and acoustic guitar, piano, clarinet, mandoline, accordion and banjo, and vocals on Mingulay, besides recording, mixing and mastering the album.