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MARIE FIELDING - A 2nd Collection Of Original Compositions

MARIE FIELDING - A 2nd Collection Of Original Compositions
Private Label

This Scottish fiddler's first batch of compositions won considerable favour among country dance bands and beyond. Her second helping, five years on, was mostly written since 2010, but there are exceptions. The 54 tunes here span reels, more reels, jigs, slow reels, strathspeys, airs, waltzes, marches and hornpipes, all pretty much in a Scottish style but ranging from Shetland to the Borders. Most of these pieces are well suited to dancing, but Ms Fielding has a penchant for unusual rhythms which can keep both dancers and musicians guessing. The first four pages are devoted to a brief explanation of the background to each tune - names like Break The Floor, Pineapple Attack and McPhater Street are demystified, or not. There's also a handy list of the tunes at the front of the book, but no index at the back - not really necessary with only three dozen pages.

Some of these melodies are instantly appealing - Kip In The Porch, Lazy Dayz and Room 3.24 for example. Others will take more time to appreciate: the lengthy Gulberwick Two Step and 3 In A Pod, the formal Master Logan Iain Anderson and Marie Fielding's Compliments to Sir Jimmy Shand, or the free-form Cameron Donald and Lament For Ian Powrie. Some of Marie's pieces are quite challenging too, depending on your instrument: she uses all the letters from A to G, and even H on occasions, although most of her music sticks to the more familiar Scottish key signatures of G, D and A. Basic chords are suggested too, for accordion or guitar-type accompaniment. Pianists, harpists and so forth will have to flesh out the harmonic skeleton for themselves.

If you're looking for a challenging bunch of new tunes, for a dance band or a Caledonian concert, or just to stretch your wings on fiddle or keyboards, this may well fit the bill. Each book also comes with a complimentary postcard, apparently - saying something like "Your hair looks bonny - have you washed it?" or "I could strip the willow with you, right enough", I'm guessing - so that may be the clincher in your purchasing decision.

Alex Monaghan

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This album was reviewed in Issue 110 of The Living Tradition magazine.