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Much of what I wrote about Gillian's debut CD Elemental applies equally to this second album: it is true to the tradition and gentle on the ear without being bland. Unusually for a Canadian fiddler, the sparks don't often fly. Instead, there's a calmness, an almost muted tone and a measured elegance to Boucher's playing. The reels and jigs are toe-tapping enough, that bow arm certainly drives Farrel O'Gara and Sean Ryan's Jig along, but this Nova Scotian fiddler's true gift is for the slower numbers, the airs and slow strathspeys which fill just over half of these ten tracks. Marni Swanson of the Grey Coast is a 1990s composition by Andy Thorburn, delightfully lyrical here. Oer The Moor Amang The Heather is an old Scots song perfect as a fiddle air. Neil Gow's Lament probably shows more sadness and loss than it should given the number of spouses he seemed to get through, but it is beautiful nonetheless. Sir John Fenwick's The Flower Among Them All comes right out of left field, a Northumbrian waltz which Gillian learnt in Edinburgh, rarely heard in Canada I'd guess. All these graceful pieces are sensitively arranged and accompanied, keeping the fiddle in the spotlight.

Gillian's Gaelic Medley starts slow and finishes fast, ending with the reel Lismore Lasses which is one of a few faster Scottish tunes here. Many of the up tempo sets are from the Irish side of Ms Boucher's repertoire, whether it's the old chestnuts Sally Gardens and The Sailor's Bonnet, or Mike McGoldrick's composition Farewell To Whaley Range. Jerry Holland wrote Mom's Jig and Amy Geddes is responsible for the final jig Andy's Saltire, but in between are a number of Irish favourites: Dr Gilbert's, Johnny Matt Henry's, Ride A Mile and others. There's also an Irish waltz and an Asturian jig, just to keep things interesting. Touches of guitar and bodhrán are sufficient to fill out the sound without detracting from the melody.

This is a charming collection, performed with a delicate and loving touch, a great ear for the music and an occasional spark of fire. The CD package is a work of art in its own right: you can admire it, and sample this young fiddler's excellent music at

Alex Monaghan

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This album was reviewed in Issue 101 of The Living Tradition magazine.