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Not all readers of The Living Tradition will like this album. It is modern, 21st century folk-related music, superbly played by two virtuoso musicians at the very top of their form. It isn’t formal classical music but neither is it jigs and reels, or background music. It repays close listening, and playing again and again, not just because it’s enjoyable but because it is so original, so unusual, and so emotional that it yields something new every time. I anticipate that it is one of those rare albums which will be played for many years to come while always continuing to sound contemporary.

The title track, the shortest on the album, reveals a lot, maybe even more than they intend, about these two musicians and their music. They describe it as “the raw, truthful interaction between two people, graceful yet uncompromising”. They have been playing together for years, and their work has an intense, complex and profound quality which “fiddle and harp duo” fails to describe.

The nine tracks are very varied. Louise’s Waltz, written by McKay reflecting musically on the all too early death of a friend, summons up feelings many of us have experienced. Stout’s Tingaholm about the site of the Norse Parliament takes one back 500 years in a slightly eerie way. Moscow Rush features two high energy tunes resulting from “an adrenalin fuelled weekend” in that city. The final track, taken from Villa Lobos’ Bachianas Brasilieras No.4, is an exhilarating interpretation of a classic piece.

Frank Bechhofer

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This album was reviewed in Issue 123 of The Living Tradition magazine.