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KATHRYN TICKELL & FRIENDS "The Northumbrian Collection"
Park Records PRKCD42

Haunting songs, lively tunes and a gentle feeling of nostalgia pervaded the room when I played this super CD. It represents a return home to her Northumbrian roots for Kathryn and her friends - a variety of artistes ranging from eighty-one year old retired shepherd Willie Taylor playing the fiddle to fifteen year old super harpist Sean Berry (listen to him accompanying Carolyn Robson as she sings the highly emotive "Bonny at Morn").

The CD comes with fifteen tracks of beautiful music and a sixteen page colourful set of sleeve notes with detailed historical background to the tunes and songs overprinted onto pages of scenic views of the region. Kathryn has a well deserved reputation as a piper, fiddler and viola player and she is more than ably supported on this CD by a talented range of singers and musicians. Classic songs, "Sair Fyel'd, Hinny" lie alongside Valerie Adamson's newly composed "Northumberland Air" (winner of the 1996 Northumberland County Council's 'Tune for Northumberland' competition). The heart stirring commissioned tune "Otterburn" complements old, favourite piping tunes such as "The Flower Among Them All" and the old minstrelsy tunes contrast and compare with modern tunes which have been more recently absorbed into the tradition (Matt Seattles - Lindisfarne).

The classic gems of Northumberland music are all there and so too are more modern nuggets indicative of the wealth of creative talent present in the region.

Gentle, innovative, relaxing, soothing, stimulating, foot-tapping, joyous - a breath of real Northumbrian fresh air. A well balanced album that taps into the subconscious.

Roy Dyson

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This album was reviewed in Issue 27 of The Living Tradition magazine.