Live Review: Rachel Sermanni @ Summerhall, Edinburgh

Scottish singer-songwriter Rachel Sermanni launched her upcoming album So It Turns last night at Summerhall in Edinburgh, surrounded by a crowd of adoring fans and a supporting cast of impressively talented musicians who all made this evening a truly special treat.

Support came from Jamie Sutherland, lead singer of local heroes Broken Records who previewed songs from his upcoming solo album. His voice sounded powerful as ever and the songwriting was equally strong, especially on recent single When We’re Alone.

Soon afterwards Rachel Sermanni appeared on stage wearing her boiler suit, barefoot and ready to make the sweaty crowd do some serious swooning. She was joined for the set by an angelic voiced trio of support singers in Rachel Lightbody, Cariss Crosbie and Emilie Boyd of Little Acres, as well as Declan Forde on the piano and James Banner on double bass.

So It Turns, was recorded in Berlin three years ago and its release has been funded by a successful Kickstarter campaign. Live the songs sounded utterly beautiful, from the sublime Put Me in the River to the quietly questioning What Can I Do, played on her mandolin Sue. Another highlight was Typical Homegirl, inspired by her own drawing of a naked lady and sung from the perspective of the imagined character – who even made a sweet little appearance on stage. After the gig Rachel also sold some artwork to raise money for Edinburgh’s Big Project, taking a moment to explain how important it was to give back to the local community during the festival.

As well as songs from the new album she was joined on stage by Pedro Cameron, AKA Man of the Minch (who earlier had accompanied her on fiddle) and Finn Anderson, with whom she recently worked on the Bogha-frois project. This collective was formed to promote LGBTQ+ voices in Scottish folk music and performed at Celtic Connections earlier this year. It was really inspiring to hear them sing together on the emotional and uplifting songs ‘The Wall’ (written for the project by Cameron and Caitlin McNeill) and ‘Breathe Easy’. Such powerful collaborations suggest the future of folk music in Scotland really is (rainbow) bright.

Rachel finished her set with the poignant Wish I Showed My Love, a standout from the upcoming album. The encore of Lay My Heart had everyone in the room singing together in one harmonious union, which was a fitting end to a evening filled with such warmth and love.

Rachel’s album is released on August 23rd and she is touring the U.K. and Ireland soon:

11th Sep – Aberdeen, The Blue Lamp

12th Sep – Inverness, Eden Court

13th Sep – Stirling, The Tollbooth

19th – 22nd Sep – Shetland (Songwriting Festival)

27th Sep – Galway, The Black Gate

28th Sep – Dublin, Lost Lane

2nd Oct – Album Launch – Glasgow, St Andrews in the Square

10th Oct – London, St Pancras Church

11th Oct – Husthwaite Village Hall

12th Oct – Bury, The Met

13th Oct – Kingskerswell Parish Church

19th Oct – Durham, The Old Launderette

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