Link to Living Tradition Homepage





KAELA ROWAN - The Fruited Thorn

KAELA ROWAN - The Fruited Thorn
Shoogle Records SHOOGLE16016

A melodic and intimate album comprising 10 traditional songs and one new composition, The Fruited Thorn is Kaela Rowan’s follow-up to the well-received Menagarie. The album’s title is taken from Burns’ Now Westlin’ Winds.

Four Gaelic songs are included. Eilean Fhianain was recently composed by Charlie MacFarlane and Alasdair Grant, while Griogal Chridhe dates back to 1570! On two of the others, Kaela shares the vocals with the Rajasthani traditional singer, Dayam Khan Manganiyar. His dipping, soaring voice creates a fascinating interplay between the two languages and cultures. Their similarities in singing and the treatment of traditional material are evident, amply justifying the experiment.

Kaela sings with feeling, confidence and warmth, the breathy tones of her voice being heard to best effect in Blackbird and The Bonnie Woods Of Hatton. Elsewhere, there is a slowed rendition of Lord Gregory, and two Irish ballads - As I Roved Out (where Jarlath Henderson duets) and the more upbeat Mary And The Gallant Soldier. If I Was A Blackbird is the remaining track.

Supportive backing is amply provided by Kaela’s band, namely her partner, co-producer and percussionist James Mackintosh, and Ewan Macpherson. Several others, including John McCusker and Patsy Reid, also help out. Notes on the songs and band members are included on Kaela’s website, and the lyrics are always clear. With a flavour of the Highlands in every song, The Fruited Thorn is a highly competent and assured CD and offers a relaxing and mellow listening experience.

Jim McCourt

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 115 of The Living Tradition magazine.