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­TAN YOWS - Hefted

­TAN YOWS - Hefted
Private Label

Tan Yows is a singing duo from South Cumbria, and they like sheep. Lynda Howard and Jan Harrison make craft sheep from wool at Lynda’s small business, The Sheep Factory. The band’s name means two ewes in Cumbrian dialect. Hefted (their second album following Undipped) is a sheep rearing term relating to sheep which have been accustomed to graze in the same unfenced area of hillside all their lives. You get the idea.

Their harmony singing on these 16 songs is a joy to hear: delicate and intricate, yet free flowing. There is restrained, well-judged accompaniment from a cohort of musicians, including co-producer Colin Blakey on guitar, flute, whistle and pipes. The songs refuse to be hefted to any locality - as well as the English folk tradition, they come from Scotland, Wales, Sweden, North America and France. And they range in time from a French medieval love song (Le Tendre Et Dangereux Visage De L’Amour) to a lyrical song by the Moulettes (Songbird). Other highlights include an excellent arrangement of Ca’ The Yowes; Llangollen Market, a lament for a departed soldier boy, which Lynda and Jan found in a 1970s Singing Together pamphlet; and Rosebud In June, a traditional song of jolly goings-on at, yes, sheep shearing time.

Cumbria is a big county. I live at its other end, but I hope to see Tan Yows at a club or festival sometime.

Tony Hendry

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