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MAEVE GILCHRIST - 20 Chandler Street

MAEVE GILCHRIST - 20 Chandler Street
Adventure Music America AMA10852

Brooklyn based international harp virtuoso Maeve Gilchrist achieved a high profile on the traditional scene in her native Scotland as a teenager before scholarship entrance to Boston’s Berklee College of Music where she studied jazz and world music.

Passion for a wide array of music is evident from her projects with Armenian pianist Vardan Ovsepain, Ecuadorian singer/multi-instrumentalist Alex Alvear and percussive ‘foot wizard’ Nic Gareiss, and her Trio recording (Reaching Me) with Argentinians Andres Rotmistrovsky and Marcelo Woloski. This third ‘adventure’ under her name follows Song Of Delight (2010) and recent solo suite The Ostinato Project. Principal accompanists here are Duncan Wickel (fiddle), Roger Tallroth (guitars, cittern) and Aidan O’Donnel (bass).

Over nine instrumentals and two songs, mainly composed by Maeve, her traditional musical roots are evident but within a sublimely graceful and sophisticated contemporary soundscape. Suffused with classical precision, the music is intricate, richly layered with moods, movement, pulsing currents and waves. The warm sonorous tones of the bass are allied beautifully with the filigree sparkle of the harp which in turn is interwoven, often in zestfully playful duetting dialogue, with the fiddle in particular. All the players use their instruments’ harmonic, percussive and textural opportunities to atmospheric effect as part of some quite exemplary interplay.

The sleeve notes advise: “Play music as a kid would play in a sandbox. Pail and shovel. Harp and voice...” The effulgent elegance displayed here certainly comes by the spadeful, suggesting the most exquisite forms of sand sculpture! This is beautifully moving melodic music with an alluring warmth and entrancing quality displaying the harp’s ‘voices’ and wide sonic range to great effect.

Kevin T. Ward

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This album was reviewed in Issue 103 of The Living Tradition magazine.