INGRID HENDERSON - The Little Beauty
Old Laundry Productions OLP001

Ingrid Henderson has compiled an understated but beautiful album which impresses through its gentleness and simplicity. Her delicate harp playing is the defining characteristic throughout a range of tunes balanced between the traditional and contemporary – including four composed by Henderson herself. Other musicians featured include James Mackintosh, Iain MacFarlane and Ross Martin. The recording has the quality input of Secret Music including co-production by Donald Shaw who also plays accordion on two numbers.

The quality of the harp playing is immediately apparent from the opening trio of jigs which includes a lively Gordon Duncan tune - ‘Blow my Chanter’. The second set, ‘Loch Duich’, reveals early on that the tunes do not have to be fast-paced to make an impact. A Michael McGoldrick tune, ‘Ceòl na Mara’, appeals not least through Mackintosh’s ambient percussion and MacFarlane’s button box. ‘A Chaileag Bheag’ by Henderson again reveals that contemporary Celtic music does not have to be all about furious pace as MacFarlane’s whistle complements the harp effectively. Another memorable number, the traditional ‘Bean a’ Chòtain Ruaidh’, includes Henderson singing in a straightforward and natural style.

The album seems to step up a gear in the last three tracks in which Henderson plays piano. Gordon Gunn’s tune ‘Billy’s Box’, heard previously on Session A9’s What Road?, is striking here too. Henderson leaves the highlight set until last – ‘The Lochaber Posse’ – with lively piano playing and Allan Henderson’s fiddle ending the album on a very upbeat note.

Andy Jurgis

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This album was reviewed in Issue 65 of The Living Tradition magazine.