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the concert and teaching circuits, and found other singers and collectors. Whilst describing The final two tracks step slightly out of the box:
many supporters in Scotland. In a crowded herself as a singer-writer, there is enough Trad. a super-slow version of The Humours of Cork
market place for traditional music graduates, arr. material here to engage the most ardent contrasts with an eclectic selection of reels
this harp duo should stand out. It’s been done devotees of careworn women, relationship which ends on G S McLennan’s legendary Mrs
before (Patsy Seddon and Mary McMaster of betrayal, and heavenly homes and if you’ve a MacPherson of Inveran. Powerful stuff!
Sileas are listed as inspirations) but not often. penchant for exhaustive and scholarly booklet
notes, you’ve got them – 24 pages in all!
Alex Monaghan
The seven tune tracks on this 46-minute CD
are mostly traditional and self-written material From rolling-sky soundtracks (East Virginia)
- nicely arranged, deftly played with evident to the snow-soft poignancy of Last Song for cEILIDHOGRAPHY
enjoyment, while falling short of virtuosity just her late Mother, McQuaid displays an elegant
yet. Good harp playing is a rippling stream inventiveness, complemented by the precision
Spots On The Sun
that can’t fail to raise the spirits, and there’s of her eloquent backing musicians. With voice
Folksound Records FSCD78
delight to be had from lively three-tune sets like and arrangement not unlike Judee Sill’s on
Lillian’s, The Boys, Polkas and The Bendy Set. J.K. Alwood’s Uncloudy Day alongside a
Ceilidhography are a rousingly good dance
They get good support from a backing band cover of Ode To Billy Joe that rivals Bobbie
band whose tunes come mainly from the
of percussion, banjo, double bass and fiddle. Gentry’s sun-dappled, yet menacing ambience,
English tradition but embrace Scotland and
The Green Set (tunes by Angus MacDonald, there’s no doubting the breadth of vision in
Ireland. This 52-minute CD is on the Coventry-
Diarmuid Moynihan and Kinnon Beaton) is the these performances. Her lyrical world may be
based Folksound Records label who also do
best example of the ensemble feel, with Gabe vulnerable and bittersweet imbued with an ache
for Peeping Tom. Like the Peepers, they are
McVarish of Daimh and Tam Kinsella of The of loneliness and candid personal reflections,
not for the purists. They describe themselves
Unusual Suspects making strong contributions but it’s accessible without being slight.
as a super funked up ceilidh band and are
on fiddle and banjo. Revealing an honest and undisguised emotion,
based in Shropshire and the West Midlands. I
the effect is of a natural, unselfconscious feel.
missed them at Shrewsbury Folk Festival last
There are also five songs on the album. Ca’ Sarah McQuaid has poured her heart into this
August. Had I known this CD was coming my
The Yowes, The Twa Corbies and The Rigs record – but it’s also firmly attached to her
way, my two left feet would have taken the floor.
of Rye will be familiar to most listeners. Love sleeve and this is Folk music in every sense.
is a song by their friend Claire Campbell with It’s that good.
Sam Buckland (drums), Mathew Pearson (5-
whom they play in the band Abagail Grey. And
string bass), and Gerry Bailey (acoustic guitar)
there’s a funky version of Andy M Stewart’s The Clive Pownceby
provide a solid platform for Simon Bannister
Queen of All Argyll. Gillian’s voice is breathily
(melodeon) and especially Mathew Keegan-
expressive but there is nothing distinctive
Phipps (recorder and tenor sax) to strut their
enough to make the songs more than
RONAN MARTIN stuff. Simon excels on the Morris-influenced
interludes between the harping.
Ronan Martin
Jack Robinson / Cuckoo’s Nest and Edward’s
/ Ellie’s Waltzes (the first waltz written by him,
Own Label WILDCD101
The final track shows what they’re about. It’s
the second by Andy Hornby). Mathew gets

a serene old Gaelic air Croabh Nan Teud,
the sweetest songbird tones I’ve ever heard
Skyeman Ronan Martin was tempted out of
which translates to the album’s title Tree of
from the humble recorder. Blithe spirit! His
his design workshop by fellow fiddler Jonny
Strings. This is their statement of respect for
playing on tracks like Walter Bulwer’s No.2 /
Hardie, who plays back-up guitar on this
the growing harp tradition in Scotland and
Speed The Plough is exceptionally uplifting.
recording. Whether by the mythical warmth of
a metaphor for the infrastructure, which has
Too often for my personal taste, and frequently
Aberdonian hospitality, or the unaccustomed
allowed them to learn and play this beautiful
during the same set of tunes, Mathew sets
smoothness of east coast malts, Ronan’s
instrument.
down his recorder and puts the tenor sax to
playing here is inspired and energised. From
his lips instead. The playing is good but the
the strutting steps of The Hen’s March to the
Tony Hendry
instrument brings out the jazz beast within.
final driving notes of Mrs MacPherson, this
Alongside the familiar trad tunes are Maidstone
is west highland fiddle music in the old style,
Hornpipe by Michael Raven, Malarky by Ian
SARAH McQUAID
with knobs on. Ronan’s repertoire is full of
Wilson of Peeping Tom, and Jump At The Sun
west coast classics: Isabelle Blackley, Bogan
I Won’t Go Home ‘til Morning
by John Kirkpatrick.
Lochan, The Bonawe Highlanders, Put Me in
Own Label SMQCD002 the Big Chest, The Sprig of Ivy, The Nine Pint
Dance bands are to dance to, and so are their
Coggie, Kenny MacDonald’s Jig and then
CDs. Ceilidhography demand that you take a
Sarah McQuaid’s might be a new name to a a Cape Breton style nine-minute medley of
twirl around your living room, with or without
fair few but when next you’re at your computer, strathspeys and reels. Big tunes boldly played,
a partner, and end up flushed and happy. So
tap into YouTube, and there are some of the with minimal mucking about.
have a noisy night in. They can’t lend you their
loveliest songs you’ll hear all year. Her press
caller Cate Bannister, but you’ll manage fine.
release for ‘Won’t Go Home’ contains the Many of these melodies would also fit on
strapline “Appalachian album takes Cornwall- the highland pipes, and the style has been
based Sarah back to her roots” but that influenced by pipers, but this is fiddle music
Tony Hendry
doesn’t even begin to describe the sense of through and through. The rapid runs, the
just-rightness, the yearning, alluring quality dancing bow, the double-stopping and
TUDUR MORGAN
to her voice nailing the subtle sharpness of glissando ornamentation all mould a tune
these 11 songs. At a time when people are such as Cuir Sa Chiste Mhor Mi to the fiddle.
Lle’r Pwll
buying fewer CDs, new converts needn’t fear Many of the nuances of west highland music FflachCD312H
credit card misery acquiring an avalanche of come from the Gaelic language which was
back catalogue either – this surprisingly, is just shared by pipers and fiddlers, so the shape Tudur Morgan, a native of Anglesey, is a
McQuaid’s second offering in 10 years. of a strathspey like Cha Toir Iain Mor an singer-songwriter who works mainly in a kind of
Nighean Dhohm is dictated by the words of the country, pop and folk crossover vein both solo
Born in Madrid, the daughter of a Spanish associated mouth-music which also shaped and with his band MOjO, as well as producing
father and American mother, raised in Chicago the piping version: chicken and egg in many some of Wales’ top acts. The title of his latest
she spent many years in Ireland before cases, but the Gaelic language definitely CD translates as Liverpool – a city to which the
bedding down in Penzance last year with her gives a recognisable character to this music. Welsh lay as notable a claim as many other
family. The album is dedicated to the memory Nowhere is this more true than in the Gaelic communities – and forms a celebration of the
of her mother, (“she had a lovely natural style slow airs such as Nuair a Chi Thu Caileag link between North Wales and that city in this
of singing and playing guitar”) who, though she Bhoidheach, played beautifully here. As far its year as European Capital Of Culture. The
never performed professionally, was obviously as I am aware, there are no words to the more disc is punningly described by Tudur himself as
a formative influence, acquainting Sarah with recent air The New House in St Peter’s, which a “musical lobscouse” (veg-and-meat broth!),
the music of Jean Ritchie, Peggy Seeger and Ronan interprets with equal passion and skill. and forms a celebration in song and tune of
Sponsored by BIrnam CD The Living Tradition - Page 43
Issue82.indd 43 24/2/09 14:01:06
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