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Trelawny’s Reach TCRM75903 

Tanya Brittain has been ensconced in her spiritual home of Cornwall for the past 15 years. Having released two albums and four EPs with Sam Kelly under the name of The Changing Room, Tanya now offers her first solo album, a collection of (mostly) original songs; these depart from the Cornish subject-matter with which we associate her and now concentrate on more personal matters. The central theme of “hireth” (nostalgia and longing) pervades both music and lyrics, imparting a quality of comforting familiarity to the proceedings. Although two tracks are of traditional origin and a further two are sung in the Cornish language (Kernewek), Tanya’s musical language is probably less folk-as-we-know-it and more akin to what can be described as a Breton café ambience; several songs are set in waltz time, and there’s a delicious accordion-led instrumental mazurka too at the heart of the disc.

As regards subject-matter, Tanya’s songs here concern the concept of longing, most particularly in the context of love and romance (the ending of which forms the kernel of Just Go Quietly). Highlights include the tender Something More Precious, the charming Oh Alas, the Brenda Wootton composition Dy Sul Vyttin and the literary-romance-themed Genev Dons (the latter is reprised in English as a bonus track). Tanya’s musician friends on the album comprise Alan Pengelly, Annie Baylis, Mark Barnwell, Mattie Foulds and Ben Nicholls, and the resulting canvas is rich and fulsome, perfectly configured for Tanya’s warm, attractive voice. Hireth is an assured solo debut for Tanya.

David Kidman


This review appeared in Issue 136 of The Living Tradition magazine