As Latin writer and lawyer Gaius Plinius stated in A. D. 58, “home is where the heart is”. This is why we sometimes feel at home in parts of the world we have just discovered and that are far away from the place we actually live in. This same realisation is the core concept of flautist and composer James Bauld’s first full-length album Where I Belong, conceived to celebrate the moments in which he felt this way during his trips in Britain and abroad.
A quick read of the track list immediately introduces the listener to the variety of inspirations behind these compositions; titles like 200 Macedonian Denars Taxi, Final Steps to the Water of Leith and From Bajram to Shkoder are a colourful insight into Bauld’s travels and the many musical influences he has gathered.
In these tunes one can really feel the genuine sentiment and the musical path of the author. His wooden flute portrays vivid images with its warm timbre and its breathy tones. Meanwhile Bauld’s exquisite technique, infused with elements from different traditions and musical genres, beautifully describes the adventures and the places where he felt at home, from Britain to the Balkans, from the Hebrides to France.
The album comes to a grand close with Out for the Rain, arguably the most remarkable track, composed after a trip to Bucarest in the days when the city experienced the first rainfall in several months. On that occasion Bauld was welcomed by the locals and they invited him to have a drink outside in the rain to celebrate that joyous moment.
The modern but captivating arrangements in which these jigs, reels, airs and strathspeys are enveloped gives the album a highly personal feel and leaves the listener wanting more. After his self-titled EP published in 2020, Bauld proves that, despite his young age, he is already a highly accomplished musician and a true virtuoso. A new star shines on the British folk scene.Michele Mele
Self-released on CD and digitally March 10 2023.
1. Uist Reels
2. Holding it in
3. Walking Back from La Fontaine
4. First Cycle of Spring
5. Final Steps to the Water of Leith
6. Accidental Guest
7. 200 Macedonian Denar Taxi
8. Partick Interlude
9. From Bajram Curri to Shkoder
10. Out for the Rain