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GINA LE FAUX "Masquerades And Operas" Lefaux Music LFM004

It's almost 30 years since Gina first started playing the fiddle. Originally from a traditional music and song family in Liverpool and a self-taught musician she's been based in Edinburgh, London and Sheffield over the years before settling in Sowerby Bridge. Her musical CV couldn't be bettered and includes bands the calibre of Hom Bru, Shegui, Red Shift and The Tannahills, quite apart from her well-regarded work in professional theatre as Musical Director, composer and front stage. This current CD gives us, as its subtitle says "a suite of music and songs" and does exactly what you'd expect, drawing on such as Frank Kidson's and Charles & Samuel Thompson's dance tune collections interspersed with complementary songs along the lines of Gilderoy and Salisbury Plain.

Gina succeeds with panache and has fashioned a substantial album that's immensely satisfying and at times quite compelling. A listen to the opening cut - the desolate Young Man's Fancy with its atmospheric effects and totally sympathetic guitar coupled with Gina's light vocal reveals an object lesson in sensitive accompaniment. There is exemplary musicianship throughout - witnessed by the pairing of Windsor Tarrass with Sir Charles Sedley's Minuet (from Kidson's Old English Dances and the Joseph Barnes manuscript respectively) where the playing is as delicate as thistledown. By way of contrast, tune-wise are two Morris selections combining Queens Delight with Black Joak - where you could've guessed Gina's history of playing and dancing with a side as she combines rhythm and spirit without any hint of excess and ego.

Uncommonly rich in its diversity, this is a fine, wholly successful record. Loved it.

Clive Pownceby

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This album was reviewed in Issue 53 of The Living Tradition magazine.