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CATRIONA MACDONALD - "Bold" - Peerie Angel Productions PAP001

Unbelievably, 'Bold' is only Catriona's second CD, and her first solo offering. As a performer she takes the tradition of Shetland fiddling to new heights, whilst never being afraid to try something just a little bit different. The artist delivers a soundscape which will delight both the old guard and the newcomer alike. Alongside Catriona are some of the finest contemporary musicians currently based in Scotland, an acknowledgement of the high regard in which her playing is held.

Spread over ten creative arrangements, "Bold" offers the full spectrum of emotions. From delicate airs, to full blooded workouts which could set even the most comatose pulse racing this album is at its best when the instruments blend with subtlety. Catriona's Fiddle when joined by Tony McManus's guitar delivers the tenderest moments, whilst it's left (as so often before) to James Macintosh's urgent percussion to provide the potent, and often vigorous grooves. Doesn't that boy ever take a holiday?

Recorded at Castlesound studio's in Pencaitland by Stuart Hamilton, Bold has a strikingly sharp production. In fact this album is almost a statement of how the best of the modernistic fiddle players are currently progressing. With one eye on present recording techniques and technology, yet the bow is still driven by a need to rediscover the playing values of yore. No particular track stands out as being above the rest, however on a point of inventiveness a mention must be given to 'Da silver bow/The joy of it'. A wonderful match of fiddle and pipe organ, long may this level of imagination and skill be maintained. Bold is the title of this CD, the contents however are both confident, and subtle.

Keith Whitham

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This album was reviewed in Issue 37 of The Living Tradition magazine.