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KIÉRAH - Strong Bow

KIÉRAH - Strong Bow
Private Label

This is Kiérah’s fourth release, but I’m ashamed to admit that the previous three have passed me by. Now, that’s a great pity indeed if they’re all of the quality of this cracking CD. Kiérah is a Canadian fiddle-player and singer, who is accompanied here by Adam Dobres, guitars; Adrian Dolan, piano, mandolin, accordion, mandola, viola; Jake Jenne, drums; Robin Layne, percussion; and Paul O’Brien, bodhrán; with guest appearances by Harold Birston, cello and Michael McGoldrick, flute.

Kiérah had 13 years of classical training, which can often be counterproductive for traditional players (all the right notes, but little feeling!) but that certainly hasn’t taken away from her empathy with the music here. There’s a good mixture of traditional and contemporary tunes written in a traddy style, including several by Kiérah herself. These show mostly Scottish, Irish and Cape Breton influences, although there are also touches of Eastern European in there.

Kiérah’s playing style is very upfront and exceptionally lucid. Every note stands out as she, seemingly effortlessly, drives the tunes forward. The arrangements help to give lift and power to the tunes, but there’s never any doubt that these are fiddle-led performances. Not that this comes at the expense of subtlety and nuance, however, as evidenced by the haunting slow airs, such as Zephyr, one of Kiérah’s own compositions.

Her singing voice is also a treat, clearly melodious, with good intonation and balance, so this is an album to be proud of, and I’d look out for her coming to your locality – she should not be one to miss!

Gordon Potter

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This album was reviewed in Issue 122 of The Living Tradition magazine.