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THE SHEE - Continuum

THE SHEE - Continuum
Private Label SHEE4

The Shee celebrate their continuance to a tenth anniversary with 10 new pieces, six being commissioned from musicians chosen by each individual member and then collectively group arranged taking full advantage of their broad sound palette.

Long shared experience in sophisticated layering and interplay of their several instruments (flute, fiddle, viola, harps, mandolin, tenor guitar, accordion) and considerable vocal skills is again manifest with lots of dynamic movement, intricate melodic and harmonic detail, rhythmic and ambient variety. Ranging from classical grace and elegance to punchy progressive riffs underscored by the bass frequencies of the electro-harp, they continue to enrich their collaborative musical enterprise.

The instrumental commissions involved Kathryn Tickell in a Northumbrian/Scandinavian twin set (hauntingly airy in its early part before gradually morphing into the jolly Sheepolska), Brian Finnegan in a lively set of tunes inspired by Indian travel, and Andy Cutting whose delightful Lady Grey is characteristically compelling in its charm and catch.

Karine Polwart’s Song For Mary, inspired by the doughty Scottish jute worker, labour activist, and feminist Mary Brooksbank, whose classic ‘ditty’ Oh Dear Me is echoed in its choral refrain, was one of three song commissions. Following a poignant waltz, Jasper’s, Martin Simpson’s Dance With Me unpicks his mother’s tragic unhappiness following the failing of her marriage after the War (“all your bridges burned and all hope gone to seed”) with palpable pathos. Finally, Hugh Lupton’s lyrics for hymnal poem, Cradle Song, as composed by Chris Wood, is given an eerily edged evocative soundscape perfectly complementing its symbolic undercurrent of wintry east wind.

Kevin T. Ward

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This album was reviewed in Issue 116 of The Living Tradition magazine.