A debut album of rare promise, Rise Aurora showcases the talents of Rosie Hodgson and Rowan Piggott. The strength of their musical partnership is a key feature of the album. Rosie has a voice of character, ethereal and silky, and her vocals and guitar blend seamlessly with Rowan’s versatile fiddle and vocal harmonies to create 11 fine folk songs. Together, the duo covers a range of styles, topics and tempos, with moods varying from the mellow to the impassioned. Every track is different, with no hint of sameness.
Rosie’s inspired and innovative songwriting skills are to the fore with her seven compositions. These include a waltz and a lullaby (written when Rosie was aged 10!), a song prompted by the mythical tale of Tristan and Isolde, and another - with an excellent chorus - dedicated to the “wise women” and midwives of old. Hush, about forced marriage, and Footsteps In The Snow have traditional feels. The beautiful title track relates to family history in Cromer. Elsewhere, Rowan has added verses to The Cuckoo, and there are fine harmony versions of the Bee-Boys Song (Kipling’s poem with Peter Bellamy’s tune) and Burns’ Westlin’ Winds. The traditional Willie Taylor completes the list.
Enjoyable in its own right, although brief, Rise Aurora suggests great potential for future songwriting and performance. Unspoiled by excess adornment, Rosie and Rowan show the basic combination of singer and fiddler at its best in an album which is authentic and thoughtful, and which embraces the old and the new.