Last month I was lucky enough to witness Rachel Sermanni launching her new album at a stunning gig in Edinburgh’s Summerhall. The songs from So It Turns are intricate and beautiful indie folk songs quietly humming with a darker undercurrent of uncertainty that perfectly reflects the world around us. Continue reading “Album Review: Rachel Sermanni – So It Turns”
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. Continue reading “Live Review: Rachel Sermanni @ Summerhall, Edinburgh”
Karine Polwart has an artist’s eye for detail, a poet’s way with words and a classic folk singer’s voice. Following on from the powerful Wind Resistance project and Laws of Motion album, to release a collection of covers might seem like an odd turn to the lighter side of music. This new album came from a live show at the International Festival where she performed a number of contemporary Scottish songs, in celebration of our country’s talented songwriters. Rest assured this is not karaoke – these songs have been carefully chosen and majestically arranged. Polwart asks us to think about how songs gain meaning by connecting them to the place they come from. Continue reading “Album Review: Karine Polwart’s Scottish Songbook”
Scottish singer Iona Marshall has entirely written, performed and self produced her new album Higher than The Leaves, released earlier this year. It almost defies categorisation, mixing folk and Celtic music with modern and experimental soundscapes to create a distinctive and unusual album. Continue reading “Album Review: Iona Marshall – Higher Than The Leaves”
On her second album Syrian born, LA based songwriter Azniv Korkejian casts herself as Bedouine the bird and the killjoy. Her songs flutter and sigh with a serene summertime sadness. Her music continues to evoke the vintage sixties folk sound of her debut, with added lush orchestral swirls inspired by French movie soundtracks as much as Nick Drake. Continue reading “Album Review: Bedouine – Bird Songs of a Killjoy”
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”