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Private Label FB004

Two key features of Scots culture are portrayed beautifully by Christina Stewart in this excellent double album. In one CD, Christina sings 14 traditional Scots and Gaelic songs, while in the second CD, she shares the narration of 14 spoken stories of the Supernatural with Andrew Mackintosh and Iain Campbell. The result is an entrancing and delightful journey through history, morality and folklore.

The songs are largely well-known, including such standards as Blow Ye Winds Blow, Lord Lovat and Annie Of Lochroyan, but their treatment is gentle and refreshing. Christina’s clear and sweet voice takes lilting, wistful, melodies to a diverse range of ballads, choruses and waulking songs – six of which are in Gaelic (all the lyrics are on her website).

The second CD focuses exclusively on Scots legends and stories, bringing the spotlight to this often forgotten, ancient and magical art. Witches, ghosts, and selkies are brought to life, alongside sagas of betrayals and lost love. Christina, Iain and Andrew, as narrators, successfully re-create the fascination and hypnotic effect of listening live to someone simply recounting a tale. The themes remain relevant!

Steeped in Scots culture, Christina Stewart’s feeling for her material shines through. Haunting retains the flavour and context of traditional Scots song and stories, yet brings their representation up to date, to make them vibrant in the 21st century. The album will be a joy to listeners with an interest in Scots music, and an inspiration to anyone wishing to learn more about the skills of story-telling.

Jim McCourt

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This album was reviewed in Issue 96 of The Living Tradition magazine.