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JANE STOKES - Mere Mortal

JANE STOKES - Mere Mortal
Private label

I suppose we all come across the occasional home-produced CD, and often these are plagued with amateur production (and sometimes performance) standards. This is most definitely not the case here. Over the years, Dorset-based Jane has become a regular and welcome fixture at many local sessions, arriving with her Celtic harp in its trademark clear plastic bag (somewhat patched with gaffer tape). Do not be deceived – the bag is the only bit of the performance that isn’t first rate.

The CD covers a lot of ground, from Irish and Scots traditional to contemporary French, giving the listener a broad and eclectic range of musical genres to enjoy. And it is enjoyable; Jane’s playing is confident and proficient, with an empathy for the music that allows it to speak – her version of the well-known Roslin Castle is an excellent example and there are lots of light and shade in her choice of pieces.

I did feel that, in a couple of instances where she’s married tunes to create a medley, the transition from one tune to the next could have been smoother, but this is a minor quibble. Overall, this is a thoroughly pleasurable recording and well worth acquiring – even more so when you know that all profits are going to support the work that the MS Society does for people in Jane’s situation.

John Waltham

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This album was reviewed in Issue 124 of The Living Tradition magazine.