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STRING SISTERS - Between Wind And Water

STRING SISTERS - Between Wind And Water
Private Label SISTERS118

There are many musical glories to have come out of Glasgow’s Celtic Connections festivals over the years, and surely one of the most sublime is String Sisters. Annbjørg Lien plays Hardanger fiddle, whilst standard ones come from Catriona Macdonald, Emma Härdelin, Liz Carroll, Liz Knowles and Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh. Add to that Dave Milligan, piano; Tore Bruvoll, guitar; Conrad Molleson, bass and James Mackintosh, drums and percussion, and you have a world-class team. Then we add in the wonderful voices of Mairéad and Emma and it all gets taken to an even higher level. The musical biographies of the band members would fill a good-sized library, so let’s get straight to the CD.

The overall effect of the massed fiddles certainly provides all the oomph that you would expect in the harder-driving sets, but there is a feeling of absolute control over the music that allows every player and every note to have just the right balance in the general mix. As you would expect from such experienced players, there is a complete understanding of the music, which is a great balance of both old and new from Sweden, Shetland, Ireland and America. This depth of material allows loads of flexibility in leading and ornamentation.

The songs by Mairéad and Emma are also exemplars of how to grab your attention and really hit the emotions. There’s one each in English, Irish and Swedish, but irrespective of your language skills, they’ll all leave you rapt.

Is it too soon to start nominations for “album of the year”?

Gordon Potter

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This album was reviewed in Issue 123 of The Living Tradition magazine.