Most of us are stuck in the gutter looking at the stars, others like Lisa Hannigan are shining brightly in the sky like a celestial angel sent to serenade us lowly wretches. With the help of contemporary chamber orchestra s t a r g a z e she has reimagined her songs for the stage, with her hometown Dublin show being recorded for this new release. Continue reading “Album Review: Lisa Hannigan & s t a r g a z e – Live in Dublin”
Rhiannon Giddens collects songs, instruments and stories from all through history and synthesises them perfectly with her modern musical purpose. She believes in teaching us the failings of the past, to better understand our present. On her new album she has paired up with Italian virtuoso musician Francesco Turrisi, someone who shares her connection with folk music history, with his expertise in Islamic, Mediterranean and eastern styles. By pairing together on this album ‘there is no Other‘ (capitalisation deliberate) they want to show that no matter where we come from we are all one voice, one history, one future.
In his introduction to ‘Notes on A Native Son’ James Baldwin declared, ‘I am what time, circumstance, history, have made of me, certainly, but I am, also, much more than that. So are we all.’ Inspired by his work, Rhiannon Giddens initially brought together this group of musicians in order to try to reclaim the black female history of America. Once the project began she realised that it had become much more than just about telling the stories of the past; it became an expression of creative freedom conveying hope for the future too.
Giddens, with her collaborators Amythyst Kiah, Leyla McCalla and Allison Russell wrote and recorded these songs together at producer Dirk Powell’s studio in Louisiana (Kaia Kater was also invited but unable to attend due to scheduling). Mixing originals with songs inspired by historic folk music and stories the result is an astonishingly powerful, and listenable, piece of art. Continue reading “Our Native Daughters – Songs Of Our Native Daughters”
Tiffany Williams is a coal miner’s daughter hailing from the Appalachian mountains, which are pictured on the front cover of her new EP ‘When You Go’. The grit and guts of her upbringing are in every strummed guitar string and sighed vocal of her music. Home is never far from her mind, or her pen. Containing songs and stories rooted deep in the heart of the place that built her, these five songs are an illuminating introduction to a promising songwriter. Continue reading “E.P. Review: Tiffany Williams – When You Go”
Witnessing the pure perfection of Aoife O’Donovan, Sarah Jarosz and Sara Watkins live on stage was one of my musical highlights of 2018 and so it is with great delight and relief I can report that the I’m With Her collaboration is set to continue into 2019. The band have announced a series of live dates and released a brand new song ‘Call My Name’. Continue reading “Song Review: I’m With Her – ‘Call My Name’”
The iconic Transatlantic Sessions has a long history of connecting artists from both sides of the pond in an evening of collaboration and mutual appreciation for traditional music. Those who have taken part in the show in the past have included Emmylou Harris, Rosanne Cash, Julie Fowlis, The Secret Sisters, Sarah Jaroz, Aoife O’Donovan, Eddi Reader and Alison Krauss. This year’s show saw guests Gretchen Peters, Cara Dillon, Molly Tuttle, Paul McKenna and Tim O’Brien grace the legendary stage. Continue reading “Live Review – Transatlantic Sessions 2019 @ Celtic Connections”
On a frosty evening in January what better way to thaw out than listening to some fine folk music from some of the genre’s most interesting young talents. Kaia Kater had impressed the crowd earlier in the week supporting Rhiannon Giddens and the audience who came to see her at the stunning St Andrews in the Square venue were also lucky enough to hear the infectious talents of Rachel Baiman and her band. Continue reading “Live Review: Kaia Kater & Rachel Baiman @ Celtic Connections”
On Monday night Rhiannon Giddens made a welcome return to Scotland to play a special show with the ‘Celtic Blues’ orchestra, led by Grit conductor Greg Lawson and made up of a varied array of players. The new versions of these songs, arranged by Gabe Witcher of The Punch Brothers, were neither strictly classical or folk but occupied what Giddens called an ‘interesting realm’ between the two. The results of this collaboration produced an evening of music of the highest quality that was a privilege to witness. Continue reading “Live Review: Rhiannon Giddens @ Celtic Connections”
Kaia Kater’s new album Grenades tells the story of her experience as a child of an immigrant, linking to her father’s story of leaving his homeland of Grenada for Canada as a child. Kater adds her traditional banjo to new sonic landscapes of lush instrumentation, creating an album of atmospheric modern folk music. Continue reading “Album Review: Kaia Kater – Grenades”