Link to Living Tradition Homepage






Night Vad NV003

Woven by Sarah Hayes is a sophisticated musical work of great depth that begins with The Trees They Grow Tall, the style of which is very reminiscent of The Penguin Café Orchestra, an accolade indeed. The musicianship and production of this CD is superb in every detail; the music weaves in and out of genres whilst always remaining firmly rooted in a traditional folk performance style. In many ways, this work is ‘cutting edge’ music that successfully creates a fusion between folk and a more edgy, contemporary sound.

After the initial musical impression of Woven, pleasurable though it is, has run its course, then the real appreciation of the work can begin. On closer inspection everything about this tapestry of sound has been very carefully thought out; there are innumerable links to enjoy and explore. The title is a metaphorical insight into the fragility of identity concerning who we are, what we become and how quickly, with the passage of time, one’s own personal identity is inevitably dispersed and ultimately lost. Using music as a vehicle, Sarah has musically examined and questioned the serious concept of identity itself. This is a powerful thought provoking CD which can be enjoyed on many levels.

Initially conceived as a “musical embodiment of its title” where Sarah could weave her formidable musical abilities into one, this work is so much more than that. Each track moves seamlessly into the next, creating a folk opera of the human condition, so much so it is difficult to highlight any one track over another. However, Where Ravens Feed is an exemplary track which allows Sarah to bring her many talents together in one homogenous musical whole, beautifully strident vocals, inspired whistle and subtle flute. Sair Fyel’d Hinny is a masterful example of musically developing a simple melody line. The Jute Mill Song has an evocative sentiment that seems as true now as it was then: “Oh dear me, the world’s ill-divided. Them that work the hardest are the least provided”.

Four Loom Weaver carries on with this theme, but in essence becomes darker. The trilogy is completed with the Mill Pond, which has a quite beautiful, melancholic, ethereal quality about it.  Maybe this is where the impoverished loom weaver sought release from the trials and tribulations of his lot.

This work is a great achievement of style, substance and maturity.

John Oke Bartlett

Secure On-line mailorder service
Buy this CD online from The Listening Post
The Listening Post is the CD mailorder service of The Living Tradition magazine.
This album was reviewed in Issue 111 of The Living Tradition magazine.