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HELENA TORPY and STEVE TURNER Sideways Air Sargasso Sounds EELCD04

Helena, on fiddle, and Steve, on accordion, have worked together for over ten years as half of the interesting and innovative Eel Grinders band, and although they have played as a duo for some considerable time, this is their first CD together. They are both highly accomplished musicians whose playing displays a rare empathy, and on this collection of traditional and self-penned material they excel. I'm always slightly dubious of recordings with a high level of the performers own compositions, but this pair are really up to it - well over half the material is their own which is melded with an eclectic mix of English, Italian, French and Swedish traditional tracks. It is a thoughtful and sensitive blend that is expressive and fluid, and hugely enjoyable. Some of the music will be familiar to anyone who has danced to the Eel Grinders but there are also slow pieces with rich resonant harmonies and constant fullness of sound which belies the presence of just the two instruments.

The album has only eleven tracks and a playing time of just fifty two minutes so 'Sideways Air' is short - but it is sweet, very, very, sweet, and is a CD to savour.

Mel Howley

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This album was reviewed in Issue 60 of The Living Tradition magazine.