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Continental Records CECD51

Dutch female vocalist Linde Nijland achieved domestic renown as part of vocal harmony duo Ygdrassil and also as an interpreter of the work of Sandy Denny. Such was her insertion into the Sandy Denny catalogue and approach, that she recorded a collection of Denny classics rearranged and recast, as more a loving homage with its own twist than a mere tribute and so impressed her peers that she appeared in the All Star Fairport Convention Concert, curated by Joe Boyd. Meanwhile, she has tried to establish a solo career that creates its own style and I Am Here is her fifth album.

Musically, it is minimal and simplistic in its setting, framing her delicate vocals with a subtle mix of guitar, accordion, cello and banjo. Working with multi-instrumentalist Bert Ridderbos, they steer a course through a batch of original songs and covers of material from the ethereal end of the folk rock strain. A good example is found in Ocean Gypsy, an elegant ballad written by the late Michael Dunford and Betty Thatcher and recorded by Renaissance on their Scherezade And Other Stories album in 1975 - the melodramatic lyrics framed in her supple yet childlike vocals, their enunciation recalling Christine ‘Likky’ McKechnie, late of The Incredible String Band. This, and Tom Paxton’s Leaving London, create a pastoral acid folk atmosphere with chilled vocals and restrained instrumentation. Nijland’s original material is bathed in the late 60s/early 70s contemporary folk vein - its romantic isolation and hopefulness solidifying the period feel achieved. While I Am Here is a very accomplished album, I feel Linde Nijland’s best individual work is yet to come.

John O’Regan

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