Six traditional songs from the North East of Scotland from a young musician with quite a nice little pedigree already backing her up. Song-wise, it’s a wise choice; the heritage of songs from the North East being a rich treasure trove of culture, dialect and history from which to mine - the Greig-Duncan collection itself running to eight volumes.
Fyfe, the BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year Finalist 2017 and BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award 2015 Semi-Finalist finds herself supported by Charlie Grey, Chris Ferrie, Callum Cronin and Ross Miller.
A prime selection highlights ballads, love songs and bothy ballads, and a selection too whose common thread lies in the beauty of the simplicity of the interpretations - the innocence of youth coming through if you like - so that their origins are respectfully maintained without veering wildly from the source.
Having said that, there’s a young vibrancy about the delivery as a jaunty fiddle opens up Sleepytoon, followed by a gorgeous Pride Of Aberdeen which drives gently along before the mournful strains of Queen Amang The Heather. The latter hanging on a combination of rolling piano and twisting and occasionally verging on discordant fiddle.
Fyfe’s voice gets boldly showcased unaccompanied on the “bleak and bare” Cairn O’ Mount, while Earl Richard gets another bright and lively reading as the tale unfolds, with the later introduction of the pipes adding once again to the rich instrumental tapestry.
The EP culminates with a version of Bonny Udny - a song which had scored an unprecedented, X-Factor styled, 100/100 points in the Traditional Song category at the Buchan Heritage Society.
All told, East is an intriguing set of songs for a first EP and an indication of the strength of what lies in the Scots tradition. One also which represents a record of the fledgling flight of an artist whose own story could run and run.Mike Ainscoe
Released on 1st July 2016. Produced and engineered by Euan Burton at GloWorm Studios, Glasgow.
2. Pride Of Aberdeen
3. Queen Amang The Heather
4. Cairn O’ Mount
5. Earl Richard
6. Bonny Udny