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VARIOUS ARTISTS - Far, Far From Ypres: The Concert DVD 

VARIOUS ARTISTS - Far, Far From Ypres: The Concert DVD 
Greentrax Recordings DVTRAX2024 

This is a recording of one performance from the 2018 tour of a remarkable concert put together by Ian McCalman. It took place in the Victoria Halls, Selkirk and features some of the finest folk singers and musicians Scotland has to offer singing the songs of World War One, framed by the wonderful narration of Iain Anderson and the dramatic but tasteful artwork projected by Pete Heywood.

Putting together two dozen singers and musicians of such standing on one stage could have become competitive. It is to the credit of all involved that this did not happen. They trooped on in, for the most part, a ‘uniform’ of black and denim. They formed up in a rank across the stage, not dissimilar to the ranks of the soldiers to whom they paid tribute. And they sang. No stars. No prima donnas. They allowed the songs to tell the story that needed to be told and they brought all their many skills to bear to ensure that the story was told well. There were highlights, though it feels wrong, somehow, to make mention of them. This was a memorial to the 140,000 Scots who died in the Great War. There were few views of the audience, but it was good to see some young faces there. It is, perhaps, the young who need to watch this DVD and hear these songs. This was a memorable evening and this DVD will hold its head up high in my music collection.

Philip Thomas

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This album was reviewed in Issue 127 of The Living Tradition magazine.