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MEGAN HENDERSON - Pilgrim Souls 

MEGAN HENDERSON - Pilgrim Souls 
Private Label MHM01CD 

A beautiful album of new music by this West Highland fiddler and singer, Pilgrim Souls was inspired by fellow Lochaber artist Christine Clark whose seven dreamy paintings are lavishly presented in the accompanying booklet. Megan's art needs no explanation: founder member of Breabach, one of the younger Henderson siblings whose music almost defines the West Highland style these days, she provides fiddle, piano and vocals here. Ms Henderson is joined by the great and good of Scottish music, with the welcome addition of Norway's Olav Mjelva on Hardanger fiddle.

It's the fiddle which comes through here, whether on the gentle Dawn Chorus jig, the driving Flights Of Fancy with its ethereal musical saw melody by Su-a Lee, or The Composer complete with Gaelic vocals. The perfectly balanced resonances of The Empty Chair, the delicate ornamentation on Almost Home building to a dramatic climax, and the funky piano-led modern reel Ascending are all delightful, broadly appealing but distinctively Scottish, from a creative spirit at the peak of her powers. The title track moves more into contemporary folk, Hield and Rusby and James spring to mind as Henderson and friends sing a song which could come from The Poozies or Salt House. Sumptuous, spine-tingling, and spiritual by turns, Pilgrim Souls is an outstanding achievement and a joy to hear.

Alex Monaghan


This review appeared in Issue 143 of The Living Tradition magazine