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VARIOUS ARTISTES "Mammyk Ker." Kesson Recordings KES700032

Many of us - an "emmet" like myself included - when asked to discuss the Cornish music scene, invariably talk in terms of brass bands and male voice choirs. When it comes to Folk, we'll throw in a reference to Cornish-by-adoption John the Fish, and the much-lamented Brenda Wootton. But that is about it.

This album shows that there is a world beyond oompah versions of "The Cornish Floral Dance", and spirited renditions of "Trelawny". It introduced me to a host of Cornish musicians I was unfamiliar with. Indeed, only one act was known to me prior to my putting this album into my CD player. That was Anao Atao, Cornwall's best-known traditional music group: and one now with something close to an international reputation.

Please do not tell anyone about my ignorance! I feel a bit ashamed, because having played the album through three times, I have to say that every track held my interest. Thirty-five artistes have joined forces to perform on this CD. It is presented in the form of a postcard home from a "Cousin Jack" visiting Cornwall for the first time. Thus you will understand the reason for the album's title, which translated means "Dear Mum".

I was particularly pleased to encounter an American Cornishman (yes! don't ask!) named Jim Wearne, whose fine voice and easy delivery makes it apparent to see why his solo albums have (according to the informative liner notes) "been favourably reviewed in publications such as Dirty Linen and Cornish World". And beautiful diction from another singer (Mike O'Connor) that puts the clarity of many celebrity folksingers in the shade.

Dai Woosnam

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This album was reviewed in Issue 52 of The Living Tradition magazine.