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Penny Fiddle Records PFR2206CD 

Tamsin Elliot is a multi-instrumentalist, composer and artist based in Bristol. While she has solid roots in the traditional music of the British Isles, her interests also include sounds from beyond those shores. She is a member of the fusion project, Solana, and participates in various traditional bands. On this CD she uses piano accordion, harp, flute, whistle, voice (and other effects) and is assisted by Sid Goldsmith, Rowan Rheingans, Rowan Elliott, Ricardo de Noronha and Soufian Saihi – collectively providing fiddles, cittern, bass, viola, percussion, oud and more voices. Elliott composed the music of Frey all within the context of personal health uncertainty and the global pandemic. The pieces are skilfully arranged and flawlessly executed, and they explore themes of limbo, healing and social disconnection. The songs acted as a balm for Elliott, and she hopes they can comfort other listeners as well.

This is her debut solo album, and it features a gentle and unhurried set of tracks. Even the jigs – such as Old Wax Jacket / A Coat Of Sawdust - have a thoughtful majesty to them, or the enticing waltzes Emerging / Full Squirrel. Elliott’s filmmaking skills show in the scenes conjured by her compositions. There is the quiet resolve of Lullaby or I Dreamed I Was An Eagle, the melancholy of Vignette 1, the jauntiness of Light As Bone, or the Middle Eastern influences in The Loss Endured (I and II).

This CD is a journey not so much of individual vignettes, but a voyage to be taken as a whole. In the face of large challenges, individual and collective, we seek comfort where we can. For some, Frey can be that soundtrack of hope and healing.

Ivan Emke


This review appeared in Issue 145 of The Living Tradition magazine