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VARIOUS ARTISTES "Folkestra North!" Fellside Recordings FECD178

Thanks to the stirring work by Folkworks, the former folk music development agency based in Newcastle, young people in north-east England have been well provided for in terms of traditional music instruction. Folkworks is now part of the North Music Trust, which offers a wide range of musical instruction at The Sage Gateshead.

FolkESTRA North is the Sage Gateshead's youth folk ensemble. It was formed in 2001 and its musical director is well known and highly accomplished Northumbrian performer Kathryn Tickell. This album is testament to the fine work from her and her young musicians, aged 13 to 19. There are 14 musicians in total, covering a wide range of traditional instruments, including cello, which has recently been re-emerging in traditional music. In some tracks, the wonderful richness of the sound suggests that all of the ensemble are involved.

What particularly attracts me about this album is the variety of it. It really has something for everyone. For those expecting excellent songs and tunes from north-east England, then you won't be disappointed. However, it is more than just that as the album also contains music from Scotland, Sweden and Canada. I am glad that the album has not ignored traditional song. The traditional Scottish ballad The Beggarman is beautifully sung unaccompanied.

Overall, the album is further evidence of the huge young traditional music talent, which is emerging throughout Britain. It is a wonderful development.

Dave Dewar

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This album was reviewed in Issue 55 of The Living Tradition magazine.