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JENNIFER AND HAZEL WRIGLEY - "Huldreland" - Greentrax CDTRAX148

"Huldreland" is a mystical island where sky and sea meet, and where Orcadians are spirited to, by music, people and rich pastures. I wonder if this island inspired Jennifer and Hazel Wrigley, as this album is replete with Orcadian-oriented compositions, such as the biting 'Eynhallow Sound' and 'The Hallowe'en Flit'.

Jennifer Wrigley shines throughout the album with the earthy tone of her fiddle, slick bowing and strong ornamentation, especially in the slow piece 'The Hills of Hoy', and also 'Barbara's Wedding' and 'Irene's Reel'. But this is done with no curbing to Hazel's talents, as her guitar playing is equally spry, particularly in 'Meg's Hornpipe'.

'The Baby Set' is very pleasing. These jigs are all written by Jennifer Wrigley, and demonstrate the two sisters' mutual musicianship, as the two instruments are beautifully in sync throughout all the key changes and intricate phrasing. 'Peedie Sophie'- the last tune in the set, is very sweet in all the flitting between high and low notes. Banjo player Eamonn Coyne appears on 'The Giant Party', adding some extra timbre onto the album, which is very refreshing.

And after all the audacity, the title track 'Huldreland' captures that mystical mood. Hazel Wrigley begins on piano, and sifts through the tune with lots of free chords, moving with piquant harmonies on fiddle. It slowly fades away, and before you know it, 'Huldreland' is all over.

Frances Morton

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This album was reviewed in Issue 26 of The Living Tradition magazine.