VICKI SWAN & JONNY DYER - Sleep Deprivation
These two have been around for over 20 years now and their ascent to the top rank of British folk music has been gradual and well-deserved. They are amongst the most hard-working, talented and likeable performers around. Their greatest strength is probably their versatility and they are constantly adding new strings to their performing bows. They made their names in concerts and folk clubs, but in recent years there has been a move towards dance. In 2017, they linked with John Dipper to create the group called Purcell’s Polyphonic Party and released an album of Playford tunes.
Now they move through the centuries to a recent manifestation of folk dances, Contra dancing, now hugely popular in North America and Europe with its fast vigorous movements and pulsating rhythms.
All the tunes here are written and arranged by Jonny and recorded by the pair of them. Though the tunes are all of dance length and format, they are arranged as a continuous suite with the tunes segueing into one another. Nearly all the melody comes from Vicki's delightful nyckelharpa playing, with some flute and multi-tracked double bass. No accordion from Jonny this time, but much more of his attacking piano playing as well as his range of string instruments.
The title comes from the late, late nights of musicians driving home after gigs. Gigs? Ah, yes. This housebound locked-down reviewer just about remembers them.
This review appeared in Issue 134 of The Living Tradition magazine