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SANDRA KERR, NANCY KERR & JAMES FAGAN "Scalene"
Fellside Recordings FECD137

The sleeve notes inform you that a scalene triangle has three sides of different lengths, and the opening "Scalene Set" features a composition from each of the band members, adequately illustrating their different styles and influences. They are extremely proficient and accomplished instrumentalists, successfully blending traditional tunes with their own material - which accounts for almost half the CD! I particularly liked Sandra's "Jeanette's Waltz" and Nancy's "Kati in Die Scnee" where she double tracks with twin fiddles in harmonic minor, and they progress through a balanced mix of light and shade in skillful manner, showing a strong North-Eastern flavour on the traditional stuff - and that's no bad thing at all. The musicality of the trio supports the songs on the CD, but it was with the songs that I found a difficulty of tonality - the singing is sweet and tuneful, but tending too much to saccharine for my taste. There are exceptions; "Sir Walter Raleigh" which is an acapella version of "The Golden Vanity", and there is the really excellent, "Port 'n' Brandy" - words and music from Nancy, and which shows a fine talent with great potential. However, on balance although I enjoyed much of "Scalene", I think I would have preferred some slightly greater differences than were actually demonstrated.

Mel Howley

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This album was reviewed in Issue 34 of The Living Tradition magazine.