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JANE CLARK "FIDDLER" Cherry Orchard Studios COSCD001

Well, the title summarises it, doesn't it? She's called Jane Clark and she's a fiddler. Shortest review I've ever written. What's that? Not enough, all right then, here's a bit more. Jane is, in addition to being a solo performer, a member of the English band Skynflynt and also the principal musician for the Irish Folk Ballet Company's performance of Riverdance. All this and only just turned twenty.

This CD gives us a straightforward fiddle playing, with a minimalist yet effective guitar accompaniment from Tony Clark, and producer Alan Davis doubling up as bodhran player on the last tune. The range of material here reflects a broad set of musical influences, with sets that start with 'Ain't Misbehavin''/'Makin' Whoopee', and range between varied sets of Scott Skinner, ragtime, slow airs and whatever else takes her fancy, before ending up with a set of reels and related tunes. The whole tone and timbre of Jane's playing is understated throughout, sounding very laid-back, but really being an exercise in control and self-discipline. There's no attempt to rush headlong into the material and play at breakneck speed as some do to try to impress. Jane's music makes all the impression she needs, as it involves the listener with its nuances, letting the tunes tell their own stories. Nevertheless, I would like to hear Jane in a live performance to contrast that with the overall 'studio' feel of this release, and to get a feel for her interaction with an audience, as I am sure this is a developing talent that we're going to see a lot more of.

Gordon Potter

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This album was reviewed in Issue 40 of The Living Tradition magazine.