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Sradag Music SRM002

Take a Gaelic singer with a pure, clear voice and two Orcadian musicians, the words of female Scottish poets and you have the sort of project that Arts councils and the likes seem to love. These works are fraught with danger for all parties concerned, but, in my experience, often a result which exceeds the sum of the parts is produced. So I will say right from the start that Fiere by Joy Dunlop and Twelfth Day works and works well.

Joy Dunlop is a singer of some renown, being most at home on the Gaelic tracks – indeed she has been nominated and won awards in that field. Twelfth Day are a fiddle harp duo who provide much more than backing for Joy’s voice, in fact it is their playing which provides the mood for the songs.

As I have said the poetry of a variety of female Scottish writers is used to explore the loves, lives and experiences of women, particularly in Scotland but equally relevant to the wider world. Often poems set to music still remain poems but these make good songs. I am not going to try to interpret these poems, but there are some stunning tracks here –Fireworks Over Bressay Sound, written by Christine De Luca and the specially commissioned Maid by Sheila McLeod for instance.

A mention must be made of the wonderful clear recording on Fiere and the excellent photography on the packaging. At a time when competition for sales is high, it is good to see someone take such care over a product. An enjoyable listen, an interesting collaboration, a project that works, and something I would like to see live.

Dave Beeby

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This album was reviewed in Issue 94 of The Living Tradition magazine.