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Wendy Weatherby - "Daybreak on the World's Edge" - Amber Music AMCD01
Now here's an oddity - and a truly delightful one. Multiple Wendys on multi-tracked cello, with Rod, Mick and Lester singing - Wendy's settings of William Souter's poetry. Do cellos work in this "folk" setting? Of course they do. There's a long history of the cello in Scots music - Niel Gow's brother often accompanied him on cello and the instrument lies in approximately the correct range for the male voice - so it works spectacularly well. This sits, however, somewhere between folk and chamber music. The word "fusion" is a detestable one, but this music really does straddle the folk-classical divide - quite deliberately, I suspect. The total absence of more normal folkie instruments and the use of singers with what a broad-minded classical enthusiast would concede are "good" voices, accentuates this. It sounds like quite hard work for the singers and a couple of the songs don't work for me too well. It is overall, however, a stunning achievement. The overwhelming majority of Wendy's arrangements and settings leave Souter's words room to breathe - they are sufficiently sparse that they support, rather than interfere with, the poetry. File this under "intriguing", "musically very clever" and definitely NOT under "easy-listening". On second thoughts, don't file it at all - just buy it and be intrigued!

Alan Murray
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This album was reviewed in Issue 44 of The Living Tradition magazine.