Link to Living Tradition Homepage





MARIT & RONA - Turas

MARIT & RONA - Turas
Watercolour Music WCMCD051

Turas is the debut album from 2012’s winners of the Celtic Connections Danny Kyle Award, Swedish låtmandola and cittern player, Marit Fält and Oban-born fiddler, Rona Wilkie. Interestingly, the title of the disc means the same in Swedish as in Gaelic – “to take turns”, for this is what they do, in together imaginatively exploring the artistic union between Scandinavia and Scotland’s Northern Isles, not least in the way that Gaelic, Norwegian and Swedish languages have a kinship in the way they’re sung and in the melodies of their respective languages.

The comparative tonalities of the instruments used are also accurately portrayed in the disc’s well-engineered recording, which enables and highlights all manner of incidental subtleties in the playing of the two musicians. Not only does the duo possess a keen feel for texture and dynamics that transcends basic arrangement skills, but they’re also adept at conjoining tunes (and songs) culled from various different sources and genres and making best use of the contrasting melodic and rhythmic layers of their chosen material, quite often accentuating the playful nature of the melodies in their exciting and energetic performances. The opening selection, therefore, creatively sequences an acrobatic Norwegian men’s dance, a tricky 7/8 tune by Marit and a 17th century pibroch song, while on the very next track a vibrant puirt a beul works well with a Finnish reel.

Rona more than proves herself as a composer, as the delectable waltz Rory’s Dinosaur Jumper and the jig-rhythmed Kilmartin Glen Campsite well demonstrate. And yet it’s the tracks which feature vocals that arguably tend to make the most impact, since both Marit and Rona are strong singers with distinctive voices. The pairing of two songs about relationships (track 4) is especially effective, while I also rated the desolate song Seo a’ Bhliadhna and Rona’s take on a Nova Scotian lullaby that closes the disc, while the eerie, compelling musical setting of Psalm 107 (which pays homage to the sea) is only mildly spoilt by its artificial wind effects. The instrumental palette from the two core musicians is wonderfully rich in its own right, although the lusher tones of the Cantilena Quartet make telling guest contributions to just under half of the album’s tracks and some lively percussion from Allan Òg MacDonald also graces much of the disc.

All in all, Turas represents an attractive recorded debut from a persuasive musical partnership.

David Kidman

Secure On-line mailorder service
Buy this CD online from The Listening Post
The Listening Post is the CD mailorder service of The Living Tradition magazine.
This album was reviewed in Issue 100 of The Living Tradition magazine.