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ROISIN WHITE "The First of My Rambles" Veteran VT126cd

This is another step in Veteran's admirable project of making extant traditional song and music widely available, and their first venture across the Irish Sea. Roisin White falls in the grey area between tradition and revival; singing went on in her Co. Down family, but she has learned much of her repertoire from such impeccable sources as Paddy Tunney, Robert Cinnamond and Eddie Butcher, as well as living singers like Len Graham and Joe Holmes. Although not strictly a 'source singer' herself, White has absorbed the local tradition whilst establishing a style that is all her own. Her pitching is accurate, her diction exemplary, but more importantly she sings with warm, earthy honesty, and bags of rhythm and swagger. Compared with singers from farther South her ornamentation is frugal, with all attention concentrated on story and melody.

White shines on lyrical songs like "Courting is a Pleasure", "Down The Moor" and Van Dieman's Land", stands up proudly for her nation in the pointed - if deceptively goodnatured - "Do Me Justice", and sums up her style admirably with "Free and Easy to Jog Along". The tracks are part field recording, part live session from the National Festival, complete with chorus and passing plane! A good decision, since singing like this belongs in the parlour or amongst the crack of the session, rather than in a cold studio.

Roisin White is an excellent 'find' - look out for her around the English festivals.

Brian Peters

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This album was reviewed in Issue 4 of The Living Tradition magazine.