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VARIOUS ARTISTS 'Orkney: Land, Sea And Community' Greentrax CDTRAX9021

This is a rich and varied set of field recordings from the archives of The School of Scottish Studies of Edinburgh University. They are mainly the work of Alan Bruford (1937-95) and represent a comprehensive medley of: song, story. Custom, belief, instrumentals and even a recipe for Beesmilk Pudding!

The 34 tracks are divided into the three categories above. There are many highlights and they include: the virtuoso fiddling of Hugh In skster, fine storytelling from the late Willie Thomson of North Ronald say, great singing and diddling from Ethel Findlater of Dounby. We also have an outstanding version, both textually and musically, of The Greenland Whale Fishery from John G Halcro and from the same singer a most valuable fragment of The Grey Selkie to a tune quite different from that collected from John Sinclair of Flotta by Finnish scholar, Otto Anderson, in 1938. Rounding off this most enjoyable album we have a lullaby, sung by Ingirid Jolly followed by a typically spirited instrumental, The Ferry Louper from Hugh, both from the pen of tune and songsmith Allie Windwick. Great stuff...

In addition to making some of the recordings, Dr Nancy Cassel Mc Entire of Indiana State University has written erudite notes to all the items, coupled to full texts, as well as a glossary and bibliography/discography.

The recordings are of high technical quality and this is, without doubt, a valuable addition, as No 21, to the schools Scottish Tradition series.

Geordie McIntyre

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This album was reviewed in Issue 58 of The Living Tradition magazine.