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KEVIN HENDERSON - Fin Da Laand Ageen

KEVIN HENDERSON - Fin Da Laand Ageen
Private Label  KEVHENCD001

One of the finest Shetland fiddlers of his generation, Kevin is a familiar figure with the groups Fiddlers' Bid, The Boys of the Lough, and Session A9. He's recently formed a trio with fiddlers from Norway and Sweden, but on this solo debut he sticks firmly to the music of the Shetland Islands. Most of the tunes here are from the core of the Shetland tradition, documented in the collection Da Mirrie Dancers and recorded previously by the likes of Willie Hunter and Tom Anderson: Da Foula Reel, Tilly Plump, Aandowin at da Bow, Da Brig and even the air Da Silver Bow which titled a set of early Shetland recordings. This collection is solo fiddle throughout, ably backed by the guitar of Mattias Perez, except for one track where Nina Perez adds back-up fiddle.

So why has this young rising star gone back to well-known and oft-recorded material? Partly to put his own stamp on it, which he does: these versions of Christmas Day Ida Moarnin, Da Unst Bridal March and Da Bride's a Boanie Ting are particularly striking. Kevin has great tone, great rhythm, and a fine feel for the music. His playing isn't as energetic here as some Shetland dance musicians, but he can certainly put fire into a tune: Faroe Rum and Oot Be Est da Vong are proof of that. I prefer other versions of one or two tunes, Da Brig for instance, but that's just personal taste. It's great to see a fiddler of Kevin Henderson's calibre staying so closely in touch with his roots. Maybe that's how he was actually able to find a Shetland tree for the cover photo. The sleeve notes are brief but informative. Although at 37 minutes Fin da Laand Ageen is slightly short, Kevin packs in two dozen excellent tunes. He finishes with the little-known Minnie O' Shirva's Cradle Song, powerful and captivating like all the music on this very fine CD. has more details.
Alex Monaghan

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This album was reviewed in Issue 90 of The Living Tradition magazine.