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Jenna’s a young Scottish fiddler based in Boston (Massachusetts) who uses tradition as a springboard for playful and inspired experimentation. With the help of fellow musicians from the community of roots musicians based around Boston’s Berklee College Of Music, she weaves a colourful and animated musical tapestry from the various strands of the Scottish fiddle tradition. Having said that, there’s a strong sense of original personal creativity derived from those strands, since Jenna’s penned some of the album’s tunes herself – for instance the opening Haven, with its cyclic motifs, and The Chill On Montebello which despite being written in an obscure fiddle tuning has something of an unbridled old-timey feel too.

Jenna has a penchant for old pipe tunes, and there are some choice examples here, including one by the late Scottish piper John Scott, while Jenna also proves herself a virtuoso match for her colleagues, guitarists Courtney Hartman and Owen Marshall, on the breakneck “rockin’ on rhythm” of the deliciously syncopated reel Dolina MacKay. Jenna also displays a sure touch with beautifully moulded phrasing on more stately selections such as William Christie’s Banks Of The Deveron and The Eagle’s Whistle, the latter one of a handful of tunes to feature some delectable harp counterpoint from Mairi Chaimbeul. And when Jenna is joined by a second fiddle (Duncan Wickel), on the disc’s rip-roaring final medley, then sparks really do fly. Another fiddle player, Alex Hargreaves, makes his mark in tandem with Jenna on the altogether less frenzied O’Sullivan’s March, on which the eerie poise of Jenna’s bow-strokes is breathtaking.

The recording is excellent, clear and well-defined (although I found the interpolation of the rasping “1937-state” prelude to The Chill, a vintage recording which features Jenna and Darol Anger, a touch intrusive). On Woven, Jenna certainly proves herself a supremely versatile and inventive fiddler with an enviably subtle and yet very sure touch, and as a result her debut disc is both stimulating and highly listenable.

David Kidman

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This album was reviewed in Issue 112 of The Living Tradition magazine.