Wednesday, August 19, 2009

More from Orkney

I mentioned Saltfishforty a couple of weeks back; here are a few more names to add to the list of "Crazy-Good Orkney Fiddlers, etc."

When I worked at the music store, one of the CD's we had in the shop was Jennifer and Hazel Wrigley's The Watch Stone. I don't remember there being any other instruments on the recording, other than Jennifer's fiddle and Hazel's guitar; I do remember it included one of the most intricate versions of the reel "Mason's Apron," that has ever been my pleasure to hear, but that was only one of a dozen very lively tunes. It was a very hard CD to tire of, especially with the added surprise of "Tom and Jerry," and "Wild Fiddlers Rag," tunes one would expect to find behind the mic at an American fiddle contest--played in a style that would. . .well, no, it wouldn't quite have blended in at most contests. It would have risen to the top, instead. "Mason's Apron," itself is a seamless blend of American and, I would guess, Orkney styles. Although the video below, courtesy of the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, centres on a more traditional take, you get some idea of the drive that underlies all of the Wrigley sisters' duets.

The new one to me for this month is Fiona Driver. Like both Douglas Montgomery and Jennifer Wrigley, she plays from the Orkney tradition, but in a style all her own. (That "Rats and Kippers" inclines rather to bluegrass, dontcha think?) Then, she plays another style still with the Lone Star Swing Band. Yes, as in Western Swing--and they keep it alive and kicking by Orkneyfying the end of "That's What I Like About the South," just a little. That's what I like, indeed!

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